A neuropsychological investigation of the memory skills of learning-disabled children compared to normal children.
AuthorWilson, Sheryl Lee.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractMemory is a complex cognitive process which has been widely researched within the field of neuropsychology. In clinical studies of adults, the Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS) is widely used. At this time there is no comparable clinical tool within the child literature pertaining to memory. There are studies which have extended the age limits of the WMS, but the youngest sample ranged from 10 to 14 years of age. The present research was conducted in two studies. The first study concerns the development of a memory scale for use with children aged six to twelve. This scale, Wilson's Adapted Memory Scale for Children (WAMS-C), was constructed utilizing the basic structure and subtests of the WMS. The scale was administered to 33 normal children, ranging in age from 6 to 12 years. It was hypothesized that the scale would reflect the developmental nature of memory as well as the relationship between memory and intelligence. The second study compared the memory skills of a learning disabled (LD) sample of children to those of a sample of normal learning (NL) children. A specific profile of academic achievement was used to define the LD children who participated in this study. (Reading and Spelling impaired, and relatively better Arithmetic skills). Research conducted by Rourke and his associates identified this subtype of LD children and provided predictions pertaining to their differential performance on verbal and visual tasks. The WAMS-C contains both verbal and visual memory tasks. It was predicted that these children would (1) do less well than NL children on the memory scale and (2) that these LD children would be impaired on the verbal memory portion of the WAMS-C, compared to NL children, but would exhibit equivalent performance on the visual memory tasks. The results of the studies showed the WAMS-C to reflect the developmental nature of memory and the relationship with intelligence. Also, LD children had significantly lower scores on the WAMS-C. However, neither the verbal or visual subtests differentiated between groups. Rather, subtests which may reflect short-term memory deficits and/or attentional problems appeared responsible for the differences found.