DUCHENNE MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY: ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND COGNITIVE CORRELATES
Gold, Alanna 1984-
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The purpose of this study is to further explore the neuropsychological profile of children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and how core cognitive deficits relate to academic achievement. Some studies suggest that the cognitive profile of children with DMD is characterized by poor verbal span (Hinton et al., 2004; Hinton et al., 2007); others support poor verbal working memory as the core deficit (Hinton et al., 2000; Hinton et al., 2001). Attentional difficulties have also been proposed as the core deficit in children with DMD (Cotton et al. 1998; Cyrulnik et al., 2008; Hendriksen and Vles, 2008). However, these core cognitive and behavioral deficits have not been adequately studied in relation to academic achievement. In the present study, academic achievement and the cognitive correlates of reading disabilities and math difficulties were analyzed. Analyses explored the relation among attention, working memory, and math in children with DMD, and how performance contributed to academic achievement. A sibling comparison group was also recruited. Children with DMD were found to have academic difficulties across measures of reading and math. Findings suggest that children with DMD display poor academic achievement skills due to poorly developed verbal working memory skills. A lower distribution of dystrophin in cerebral areas may lead to limited verbal working memory, which in turn contributes to poor academic skills.