Neurodiversity and Intelligence: The Flynn Effect in Children With Autism

This session is from the NASP 2021 Annual Convention

  • PMD: 8,10
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Session 8: Psychological Services for Students With Autism

Learner Objectives

This session will help participants…

  1. understand the manifestation of the Flynn effect in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
  2. understand the neurodiversity demonstrated within the autism spectrum.
  3. understand the importance of taking the Flynn effect into account when determining eligibility for community, state, and federal resources; social services; special education programs; and legal consequences such as deciding on the death penalty.


The Flynn effect (FE) has been demonstrated across several contexts and with many different populations. However, little is known about the FE among youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Using the National Database for Autism Research, this study examined whether general intelligence changed significantly over a decade (N = 671). Results demonstrate that there is no FE in children with ASD, further demonstrating the neurodiversity within the spectrum. Implications for research and practice are discussed.



Kenzie B. Billeiter, Baylor University
John M. Froiland, Purdue University


Justin P. Allen, Daniel B. Hajovsky


Letter to Supervisor

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