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Am J Intellect Dev Disabil. 2017 Mar;122(2):97-117. doi: 10.1352/1944-7558-122.2.97.

Impact of Attention Training on Academic Achievement, Executive Functioning, and Behavior: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

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Hannah Kirk, Kylie Gray, Kirsten Ellis, John Taffe, and Kim Cornish, Monash University, Australia.


Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) experience significant difficulties in attention, learning, executive functions, and behavioral regulation. Emerging evidence suggests that computerized cognitive training may remediate these impairments. In a double blind controlled trial, 76 children with IDD (4-11 years) were randomized to either an attention training (n = 38) or control program (n = 38). Both programs were completed at home over a 5-week period. Outcome measures assessed literacy, numeracy, executive functioning, and behavioral/emotional problems, and were conducted at baseline, post-training, and 3-month follow-up. No training effects were observed at post-training; however, children in the training group showed greater improvements in numeracy skills at the 3-month follow-up. These results suggest that attention training may be beneficial for children with IDD; however, the modest nature of the intervention effects indicate that caution should be taken when interpreting clinical significance.


attention; cognitive training; developmental disability; intellectual disability

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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