Strengths and weaknesses in executive functioning in children with intellectual disability

Danielsson, Henrik; Henry, Lucy; Messer, David and Rönnberg, Jerker (2012). Strengths and weaknesses in executive functioning in children with intellectual disability. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 33(2) pp. 600–607.




Children with intellectual disability (ID) were given a comprehensive range of executive functioning measures, which systematically varied in terms of verbal and non-verbal demands. Their performance was compared to the performance of groups matched on mental age (MA) and chronological age (CA), respectively. Twenty-two children were included in each group. Children with ID performed on par with the MA group on switching, verbal executive-loaded working memory and most fluency tasks, but below the MA group on inhibition, planning, and non-verbal executive-loaded working memory. Children with ID performed below CA comparisons on all the executive tasks. We suggest that children with ID have a specific profile of executive functioning, with MA appropriate abilities to generate new exemplars (fluency) and to switch attention between tasks, but difficulties with respect to inhibiting pre-potent responses, planning, and non-verbal executive-loaded working memory The development of different types of executive functioning skills may, to different degrees, be related to mental age and experience.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 31357
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 0891-4222
  • Keywords
  • executive functioning; intellectual disability; inhibition; executive-loaded working memory; switching; fluency; planning
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2011 Elsevier Ltd
  • Depositing User
  • David Messer