Adaptive Working Memory Training Can Improve Executive Functioning and Visuo-Spatial Skills in Children With Pre-term Spastic Diplegia

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Abstract

Pre-term spastic diplegia (pSD) due to periventricular leukomalacia is a form of cerebral palsy in which weaknesses in executive functions are reported beyond the core visuo-spatial deficits. The study aimed at improving executive functioning and visuo-spatial skills with an evidence-based training focused on working memory in children with pSD. The intervention study followed a stepped wedge design. 19 children with pSD (11 female and 8 male; age range: 4;1–13;1 years), mild to moderate upper limb impairment and Verbal Intelligence Quotient (VIQ) >80 participated to the study. The children were trained with a home-based adaptive working memory training (CogMed®) over a 5-week period. The primary outcome measure was the CogMed Improvement index; pre- and post-test explorative neuropsychological assessment was conducted with a subset of tests from the NEPSY-II battery. Working memory training in children with pSD significantly improved trained working memory abilities (CogMed indices) as well as non-trained skills, such as visuo-spatial skills, inhibition of automatic responses and phonological processing. The results suggest that standard rehabilitation schedules for children with pSD should be integrated with trainings on executive functions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number601148
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 20 2021

Keywords

  • cogmed working memory training
  • executive function
  • neuropsychological training
  • pre-term spastic diplegia
  • visuo-spatial function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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