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Memory ability in children with complex communication needs.

Journal article
Authors Maria Larsson
Annika Dahlgren Sandberg
Published in Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Volume 24
Issue 2
Pages 139-148
Publication year 2008
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 139-148
Language en
Keywords Phonological short-term memory; Complex communication needs; Subvocal rehearsal; Articulatory ability; Working memory
Subject categories Cognitive science


Phonological memory is central to language and reading and writing skills. Many children with complex communication needs (CCN) experience problems with reading and writing acquisition. The reason could be because of the absence of articulatory ability, which might have a negative affect on phonological memory. Phonological and visuo-spatial short-term memory and working memory were tested in 15 children with CCN, aged 5 – 12 years, and compared to children with natural speech matched for gender, and mental and linguistic age. Results indicated weaker phonological STM and visuo-spatial STM and WM in children with CCN. The lack of articulatory ability could be assumed to affect subvocal rehearsal and, therefore, phonological memory which, in turn, may affect reading and writing acquisition. Weak visuo-spatial memory could also complicate the use of Bliss symbols and other types of augmentative and alternative communication.

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