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Brain Sci ; 11(9)2021 Sep 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1408535


BACKGROUND: The rapid expansion and severity of the COVID-19 contagion has had negative physical and psychological health implications for millions of people around the world, but even more so among children and adolescents. Given the severity of the situation and the small number of studies on the direct influence of viral infection on the cognitive development within adolescents, the present study aims at understanding the consequences of contracting the virus and being hospitalized in relation to cognitive functioning, in particular, for executive functioning, among adolescents. METHODS: To all subjects included in the sample, divided into four groups based on the severity of the COVID-19 infection, were administered the WISC-IV in order to evaluate the global cognitive functioning, and subsequently, the subtests Courses and Tower of London (ToL), both part of the BVN 12-18, were administered for the evaluation of executive operation. RESULTS: Our analyses showed that between subjects who did not contract the viral infection and those who contracted it in an asymptomatic form, there are no significant differences in cognitive functioning, but only in executive functioning. Furthermore, in both hospitalized and non-hospitalized subjects, we found lower scores especially for WM skills, while IQ scores are in a medium range. CONCLUSION: the present study shows that contracting the viral infection and, thus, being hospitalized, caused greater problems and difficulties as compared to those who were not hospitalized, impacting global cognitive (and executive) functioning, especially the WM. We believe that these results could allow an early detection of alterations in cognitive and executive functioning, a fundamental aspect of the interventions that occur in evolutionary phases such as those related to pre-adolescence, allowing, therefore, the activation of functional recovery pathways in a short time.

Pediatr Rep ; 13(1): 35-44, 2021 Jan 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1079672


While numerous treatments for ASD are available, intervention based on the principles and procedures of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has garnered substantial scientific support. In this study we evaluated the effects of the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, followed by quarantine provisions and during the three months after the resumption of activities. The study was conducted on a group of children taking part on a ABA-based intervention funded by the Local Health Authority (ASL) of the province of Caserta. In this study we considered a sample of 88 children who had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, aged between 18 and 30 months. The following inclusion criteria were observed: age at the time of diagnosis less than 30 months, absence of other neurological, genetic, or sensorineural pathologies, and severity level 1 measured by symptoms evaluation based on the ADOS 2 module T (used for diagnosis). During the lockdown children experienced improvements in communication, socialization, and personal autonomy. During the three months after the ABA treatment, the acquired skills were maintained but no significant improvement was demonstrated. In this study, we describe how parent training was significant in avoiding delays in the generalization of socially significant behaviors, following the drastic interruption of the treatment in this group of children.