The effectiveness of computerised memory training for school aged children with Down syndrome

This study evaluated the impact of a commercially available computerised memory training programme.

Children and young people with Down syndrome are known to have delays in working memory development. Working memory (WM) plays an important role in processing information during daily activities, processing language and when learning in the classroom. It influences the processing of verbal and visual spatial information.

There is some evidence that memory training may be effective in improving working memory but may not be long lasting. This study aimed to evaluate a commercially available program designed to improve visuospatial memory with students with Down syndrome in a small study.

Schools were approached and twenty-five children with Down syndrome, aged between 7 and 12 at the start of the study were recruited and allocated to an intervention or waiting control group. The school staff were trained to implement the programme and the software was installed on school computers. The intervention group received 10-16 weeks of training and then the wait group received the same period of training. The first trained group were followed up at 40 weeks to see if any training gains had been retained. The children completed standardised assessments for verbal and nonverbal IQ at the start and working memory and executive function at each time point during the study.

The results showed that children with Down syndrome were able to complete the training programme and that it was effective in boosting performance on both trained and untrained visuospatial memory tasks. These gains were maintained four months after the training ended. Children who engaged in more training sessions made more progress on the trained tasks. Some improvements on aspects of executive function and increased attention in class were reported. This is a small study but the findings support a larger trial of this approach to memory training.


  • Baily Thomas Charitable Trust
  • Down Syndrome Education International


  • Bennett S, Holmes J and Buckley S (2013). Computerised memory training leads to sustained improvement in visuospatial short term memory skills in children with Down syndrome. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 118(3), 179-192.
  • Cogmed Working Memory Training (Cogmed) (