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J Exp Child Psychol. 2007 Jan;96(1):20-36. Epub 2006 Sep 29.

Working memory, reading, and mathematical skills in children with developmental coordination disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Durham, Science Laboratories, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK.


The aim of the present study was investigate the relationship between working memory and reading and mathematical skills in 55 children diagnosed with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). The findings indicate a pervasive memory deficit in all memory measures. In particular, deficits observed in visuospatial short-term and working memory tasks were significantly worse than in the verbal short-term memory ones. On the basis of these deficits, the sample was divided into high and low visuospatial memory ability groups. The low visuospatial memory group performed significantly worse on the attainment measures compared to the high visuospatial memory group, even when the contribution of IQ was taken into account. When the sample was divided into high and low verbal working memory ability groups, verbal working memory skills made a unique contribution to attainment only when verbal IQ was taken into account, but not when performance IQ was statistically controlled. It is possible that the processing demands of the working memory tasks together with the active motor component reflected in the visuospatial memory tasks and performance IQ subtest both play a crucial role in learning in children with DCD.

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