Background There is little previous research examining whether measures of working memory are related to educational achievement in children with intellectual disabilities (ID).
Methods A battery of working memory and achievement measures was administered to 11- to 12-year-old children with ID; younger typically developing children of comparable mental age were also assessed.
Results The working memory measures that assessed phonological short-term memory (PSTM) accounted for the most variance in reading and spelling in children with ID, whereas the working memory measures that assessed central executive-loaded working memory (CELWM) accounted for the most variance in number skills. These relationships were broadly similar among typically developing children.
Conclusions Compensatory strategies for weak PSTM may help to improve reading and spelling skills in children with ID, whereas reducing CELWM loads may be more helpful in aiding their number skills.