Reading disabilities in Children with Cerebral Palsy: associations with Working Memory

Critten, Valerie; Messer, David and Sheehy, Kieron (2023). Reading disabilities in Children with Cerebral Palsy: associations with Working Memory. Reading & Writing Quarterly (Early Access).



Background: Little is known about the relationship between working memory (WM) abilities and reading in children with cerebral palsy (CP) who have age-appropriate communication and language.

Aims: To analyse the WM abilities and their relationship to reading in children with CP and age-appropriate communication and language.

Methods and procedures: Fifteen children with CP (6:9 to 11:6 years) and age-appropriate communication and language were identified. They were given tests of communication and language, WM, and reading. The children were divided into two groups; five who had age-appropriate reading (Readers), and ten with very low reading abilities (NonReaders).

Outcomes and results: Phonological short-term memory was mostly age appropriate in both reading groups and their scores mostly correlated with their reading abilities. Visuospatial short term memory scores were very poor in both groups and not related to reading group membership or reading. Executive working memory abilities were mostly age appropriate for the Readers, but low for the Non-Readers, and EWM was correlated with reading.

Conclusions and implications: The findings suggest that there are variations in the working memory abilities in this group of children and that EWM may be an important contributor to their reading development

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