Thursday, June 6, 2013

Memory training study points to possible benefits for children with Down syndrome

A study, conducted by researchers at Down Syndrome Education International and published today in the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, suggests that adaptive working memory training might offer sustained benefits for young people with Down syndrome.
People with Down syndrome tend to be more limited in their abilities to store and manipulate information over short periods of time (short term and working memory) than other people.
These memory systems impact many areas of learning, including the acquisition of vocabulary, grammar and reading skills. Improving short term and working memory function might therefore be expected to have important consequences for educational outcomes.
Studies published in recent years suggest that computerised adaptive working memory training may improve memory function for children with relatively limited working memory skills.
DSE therefore set out to explore if similar results might be achieved for children with Down syndrome by conducting a randomized controlled trial of Cogmed Working Memory Training with children with Down syndrome aged between 7 and 12 years.
The study was funded by The Baily Thomas Charitable Fund and Down Syndrome Education International, and the findings are published today in the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
We found that children who undertook 25 session of computerized memory training, on average, achieved important gains in visuospatial short term memory and visuospatial working memory, compared to children not undertaking training.
This study suggests that adaptive working memory training could be a practical and useful intervention for children with Down syndrome. However, further research is required to confirm this. Future research is needed to explore if memory training can deliver improvements in verbal as well as visuospatial memory, and (importantly) if these gains subsequently lead to improvements in language, literacy and wider academic skills.
Read more about the trial...

Use this link for a free trial of the memory training software mentioned above from DSE and Pearson Education (click here)

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