Working memory development in children with mild to borderline intellectual disabilities

Van der Molen, M. J., Henry, L. & Van Luit, J. E. H. (2014). Working memory development in children with mild to borderline intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 58(7), pp. 637-650. doi: 10.1111/jir.12061

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Abstract

Background: The purpose of the current cross-sectional study was to examine the developmental progression in working memory (WM) between the ages of 9 and 16 years in a large sample of children with mild to borderline intellectual disabilities (MBID). Baddeley’s influential WM model was used as a theoretical framework. Furthermore, the relations between working memory on the one hand, and scholastic skills (arithmetic and reading) on the other were examined.

Method: One-hundred-and-ninety-seven children with MBID between 9 and 16 years old participated in this study. All children completed several tests measuring short-term memory, working memory, inhibition, arithmetic and single word reading.

Results: WM, visuo-spatial short-term memory and inhibition continued to develop until around age 15 years. However verbal short-term memory showed no further developmental increases after the age of 10 years. Verbal short-term memory was associated with single word reading, whereas inhibition was associated with arithmetic.

Discussion: The finding that verbal short-term memory ceases to develop beyond the age of 10 years in children with MBID contrasts with results of studies involving typically developing children, where verbal short-term memory develops until around age 15 years. This relative early developmental plateau might explain why verbal short-term memory is consistently considered weak in children with MBID.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted version of the following article: Van der Molen, M. J., Henry, L. A. and Van Luit, J. E. H. (2014), Working memory development in children with mild to borderline intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 58: 637–650., which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/doi: 10.1111/jir.12061.
Uncontrolled Keywords: intellectual disabilities, short-term memory, working memory, inhibition, arithmetic, speeded reading, development
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Divisions: School of Health Sciences
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/3821

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