Effectiveness of a computerised working memory training in adolescents with mild to borderline intellectual disabilities


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Abstract

BackgroundThe goal of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a computerised working memory (WM) training on memory, response inhibition, fluid intelligence, scholastic abilities and the recall of stories in adolescents with mild to borderline intellectual disabilities attending special education.MethodA total of 95 adolescents with mild to borderline intellectual disabilities were randomly assigned to either a training adaptive to each child's progress in WM, a non-adaptive WM training, or to a control group.ResultsVerbal short-term memory (STM) improved significantly from pre- to post-testing in the group who received the adaptive training compared with the control group. The beneficial effect on verbal STM was maintained at follow-up and other effects became clear at that time as well. Both the adaptive and non-adaptive WM training led to higher scores at follow-up than at post-intervention on visual STM, arithmetic and story recall compared with the control condition. In addition, the non-adaptive training group showed a significant increase in visuo-spatial WM capacity.ConclusionThe current study provides the first demonstration that WM can be effectively trained in adolescents with mild to borderline intellectual disabilities.

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