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The development of route learning in Down syndrome, Williams syndrome and typical development: investigations with virtual environments

Purser, HRM; Farran, EK; Courbois, Y; Lemahieu, A; Sockeel, P; Mellier, D; Blades, M; (2015) The development of route learning in Down syndrome, Williams syndrome and typical development: investigations with virtual environments. Developmental Science , 18 (4) pp. 599-613. 10.1111/desc.12236. Green open access

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Abstract

The ability to navigate new environments has a significant impact on the daily life and independence of people with learning difficulties. The aims of this study were to investigate the development of route learning in Down syndrome (N = 50), Williams syndrome (N = 19), and typically developing children between 5 and 11 years old (N = 108); to investigate use of landmarks; and to relate cognitive functions to route-learning ability in these groups. Overall, measures of attention and long-term memory were strongly associated with route learning, even once non-verbal ability was controlled for. All of the groups, including 5- to 6-year-old TD children, demonstrated the ability to make use of all landmark types to aid route learning; those near junctions, those further from junctions, and also distant landmarks (e.g. church spire, radio mast). Individuals with WS performed better than a matched subset of TD children on more difficult routes; we suggest that this is supported by relatively strong visual feature recognition in the disorder. Participants with DS who had relatively high levels of non-verbal ability performed at a similar level to TD participants.

Type: Article
Title: The development of route learning in Down syndrome, Williams syndrome and typical development: investigations with virtual environments
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/desc.12236
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/desc.12236
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Developmental Science Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Adolescent, Adult, Child, Child, Preschool, Cognition Disorders, Down Syndrome, Female, Humans, Learning Disorders, Male, Maze Learning, Neuropsychological Tests, User-Computer Interface, Williams Syndrome, Young Adult
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1542722
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