Maria A. Estratopoulou, Maria Sofologi


Aim: The aim of the present study was to investigate possible differences on working memory abilities between children with Autism spectrum disorder and typical children. The potential facilitating effect of verbal mediation on working memory was investigated measuring children’s ability to use language-based encoding and rehearsal processes to enhance working memory. Method: Participants were divided into two groups: a group of 26 children diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder (16 boys and 10 girls) and to a group of 25 typical controls (17 boys and 8 girls) matched on non-verbal intelligence. Examination of working memory was based on non-verbal variants of the non-spatial, self-ordered pointing test (SOPT) devised by Petrides and Milner (1982). Both the Verbal Span Test and the Self-ordered tests were performed to the participants. Results: The resulting profile on memory abilities in children with autism was characterized by relatively poor memory for complex verbal and visual test. The different pattern of memory performance between the two groups indicates that the more complex the task and the information being processed, the more taxed the resources of the memory system become. Discussion: The results provide useful information to take into consideration when designing interventions for children with Autism spectrum disorder in clinical and educational settings.


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