The Effectiveness of Brain Gym and Brain Training Intervention on Working Memory Performance of Student with Learning Disability

Bungawali Abduh, Mohd Mokhtar Tahar


Learning disability is commonly associated with a weak working memory function of a student that impacts his or her performance in school. This study aims to identify the effective approaches that could enhance the working memory function of students with learning disability. This quasi-experimental study involved three group of five students that were allocated into control group, Brain Gym, and Brain Training intervention group. The Brain Gym intervention group performed Brain Gym ® Superspace exercise on a daily basis for four weeks during the first school session. Meanwhile, Brain Training intervention was carried out by another intervention groups on a daily basis for four weeks. They were allocated with 5-minutes Brain Training game for each person in a group during free time at school. Data for the working memory function that were collected during pre- and post-test using three instruments: (1) Digit Span  Memory Test; (2) Spatial Memory Test; and (3) Picture Identification Test.  Two non-parametric test was used to interpret the data: (1) Spearman Rank Order Correlation to determine the relationship of the three groups on the pre- and post-test and Wilcoxon Pair Signed Rank Test to measure the difference between pre- and post-test scores for the control group, two intervention groups, and three working memory component. The findings of the study show a significant increment of the working memory function for both intervention groups. The finding also shows a significant increment for Digit Span Memory and Spatial Memory skills among participants in the intervention group. This study provides alternative to parents, teachers and school administration to provide appropriate learning stimulus that could fulfill the needs of students in school and at home.


working memory; students with learning disability; brain gym; brain training

Full Text:



Astle D. E., Barnes J. J., Baker K., Colclough G. L. & Woolrich M. W. 2015. Cognitive Training enhances intrinsic brain connectivity in chilhood. The Journal of Neuroscience 35(16): 6277-6283


Baddeley A. (2012). Working memory: Theories, model and Controversies. Annu. Rev. Psychol 2012 (63): 1-29. Retrieved from

Ballesteros S.; MayaJulia S; Pilar T., Prieto A.; Carmen P.; De Leom L. P.; Reales J. M. & Waterworth J. A.(2015). A randomized controlled trial of brain training with non-action vodeo-games in older adults. Result of the 3-month follow-up. Fronties in aging neuroscience: Clinical Trial 7 (45): 1-12. Retrived from

Barreiro P. L. & Albandoz J. P. (2001). Population and sample. Sampling techniques. University of Seville: Management Mathematics for European Schools.

Books Phyllis. (2013). Reversing Dyslexia: Improving learning & behavior Without drugs. USA: Square One Publisher.

Chacko A., Kofler M., Jarrett M. (2014). Improving outcomes for youth with ADHD: A conceptual Framework for combined Neurocognitive and skill-based treatment approaches. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev 17(4): 368-384. Retrieved from

Cardoso- Leite P. & Bavelier D. (2014). Video game play, attention and learning: how to shape the development of attention and influence learning?. Curr Opin Neural 27(2): 185-191. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0000000000000077

Creswell J. W. (2013). Research Design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. Singapore: Sage.

Costa H. M., Purser Harry R. M. & Passolunghi M. C. (2015). Improving working memory abilities in individuals with Down Syndrome : A treatment case study. Frontiers in Psychology 6(1331). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01331

Cowan N. (2001). The magical number 4 in short-term memory: A reconsideration of mental storage capacity. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24: 87-185.

Creswell J. W. (2013). Research Design, 4th edition. Singapore: SAGE Publication.

Constantinidis C. & Klingberg T. 2016. The neuroscience of working memory capacity and training. Nature Reviews:Neuroscience. doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.43

De Carvalho C. A. F., Kida Adriana de S. B., Capellini S. A. & De Avila Clara R. B. (2014). Phonological working memory and reading in students with dyslexia. Frontiers in Psychology 5(746).

Durkin K., Boyle J., Hunter S. & Conti-Ramsden G. (2013). Video games for children and adolescents with special education need. Zeitschrift fuer Psychologie-Journal of Psychology 221(2): 79-89.

Elizabeth A. S. & Rubin D. B.(2007). Best Practises in quasi-experimental designs: Matching Methods for causal inference. Best Practise in research design. Retrieved from

Gibbs K. L. (2007). Study regarding the effect of Brain Gym on Student Learning. Education and Human Development Master’s Theses.413. Retrieved from

Hafez R. ( 2017). Effect of Brain Gym on manipulating skills and balance for beginners in rhythmic gymnastics. Science, movement and health 17 (1): 66-72 Retrived from

Healy J. M. (2004). Your Child’s growing mind: Brain development and learning from birth to adolescence. New York: Broadway Books.

Holmes J. & Gathercole S. E. 2014. Taking working

memory training from the laboratory into schools. Edicational Psychology 34(4): 440-450

Holmes J. & Gathercole S. E. (2013). Taking working memory training from the laboratory into schools. Educational Psychology 34(4): 440-450.

Horward- Jones P. (2014). Neuroscience and Educational: A review of educational intervention and Approaches informed by Neuroscience; Full report and executive summary. Education Endowment Foundation (BEF). Bristol : University of Bristol.

Hyatt K. J. (2007). Building stronger brains or wishful thinking. Remedial and Special Education 28(2): 117-124

Kane M. J. (2005). Working memory capacity and fluid

intelligence are strongly related constructs:

Comment on Ackerman, Beier and Boyle (2005). Psychological Bulletin 131(1): 66-71

Kercood S., Grskovic J. A., Banda D. & Begeske J.( 2014). Working memory and autism: A review of literature. Reserch in Autism Disorders 8(2014): 1316-1332. doi: 10.1016/j.rasd.2014.06.001

Koester C. (2013). Course Manual for Brain Gym 101s: Interfacing Brain Gym with children who have special needs. Ventura Canada: The Educational Kinesiology Foundation.

Kreitz C., Furley P., Memmert D. & Simons D. J., (2015). The influence of attention set, working memory capacity and expectation on inattentional blindness. Perception 45(5): 386-399.

Leisman G. & Melillo R. (2015). The plasticity of brain networks as a basis for a science of nervous system rehabilitation. International Journal of Neurorehabilitation 2: 155 doi:10.4172/2376-0281.1000155

Marpaung M. G. et all. (2016). Brain Gym to increase academic performance of children aged 10-122 years old (experimental study in Tembalang Elementary School and Pedalangan Elementary School Semarang. IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Enviromental Sciences 55. doi:10.1088/175-1315/55/1/012017

Mawjee K., Woltering S., Lai N., Gotlieb H., Kronitz R. & Tannock Rosemary (2014). Working Memory Training in ADHD: Improvement pilot study. Journal of Attention Disorder: 1-13. doi:101177/1087054714557356

May-Benson Teresa A., Koomar Jane A. & Teasdale Alison. (2009). Incidence of pre-, peri-, and post-natal borth and developmental problem of children with sensory processing disorder and children with autism spectrum disorder. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 3(31): artikel 31. doi: 10.3389/neuro.07.031.2009

McCabe J. A., Redick T. & Engle R. W. (2016). Brain Training pessimism, but applied-memory optimism. Psychological Science in the Public Interest 17(3): 187-191.

Metcalf B., Henley W. & Wilkin Terence. 2012.

Effectiveness of intervention on physical activity of children: Systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials with objectively measured outcomes (EarlyBird 54). BMJ 2012: 345. doi:

Milner B. (1971). Interhemispheric differences in the

localization of psychological processes in man.

British Medical Bulletin, 27: 272-277

Mitchell M. L. & Jolley J. M. 2012. Research design explained (8th edition). Australia; Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. (2011). Building the brain’s “air traffic control” system: How early experiences shape the development of executive function (Working Paper 11). Retrieved from working_papers/working-papers/wp11/

Noraini Idris, (2013). Penyelidikan dalam pendidikan. Shah Alam: Mc Graw Hill.

Norbert J. & Ksenija J. (2012). Working Memory Training: Improving Intelligence – Changing brain activity. Brain and Cognition 79(2012): 96-106. Retrieved from

Nouchi R., Taki Y., Takeuchi H, Hashizume H., Nozawa T., Kambara T., Sekiguchi A., Miyauchi C. M., Kotozaki Y., Nouchi H. & Kawashima R. (2013). Brain training game boosts executive function, working memory and processing speed in the young adults: A randomized controlled trial. Plos ONE 8(2). Retrieved from

Noverita Surya Dewi & Agung Kurniawan. 2017. The effectof scramble game towards the ability of composing sentences for students with intellectual disability. Journal of ICSAR 1(1): 81-84

Owen A. M., Hampshire A., Grahn J. A., Stenton R., Dajani s., Burns A. S., Howard R. J & Ballard C. G. (2010). Putting brain training to the test. Nature 465: 775-778. doi:10.1038/nature09042

Pezdek K . (1978). Recognition memory for related

pictures. Memory & Cognition 6 (1): 64-69

Ruhaak A. E. & Cook B. G. (2016). Chapter 6 Movement as behavioral Moderator: What does the research say? Advance in Learning and Behavioral Disabilities (29) : Emerald Group Publishing Limited : 111-134

Satler C., Belham F. S., Garcia A., Tomaz C. & Tavares

M. C. H. (2015). Computerized spatial delayed

recognition span task: A specific tool to assess visuospatial working memory. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience; Methods 7 (53):1-9

Simon D. J., Boot W. R., Charness N., Gathercole S.E., Chabriser C. F., Hambrick D. Z. & Stine-Morrow E. A. L. (2016). Do ‘Brain Training program work?. Psychological Science in the Public Interest 17(3): 103-186

Smith M. A (2015). Review of 2014-2015 Meta-anlyses on Working Memory Training for IQ and working memory. Retrieved from

Spaulding L. S. (2010). Is Brain Gym an Effective Educational Intervention? Faculty Publications and Presentations. Retrieved from

Sousa D. A. (2017). How the brain learns (fifth edition). US: Corwin Press

Stephenson J., Carter M., Wheldal K. (2007). Still jumping on the balance beam: Continued use of perceptual motor programs in Australian schools. Australian Journal of Education 5(1): 6-18

Sutoro S. (2014). Influence of Brain Gym on Mathematical Achievement of children. Asian Social Science 10(5): 114-117. doi:10.5539/ass.v10n5p114

Titz Cora & Karbach J. (2014). Working memory and executive functions: effect of training on academic achievement. Psychological Research. doi 10.1007/s00426-013-0537-1

Toril P., Reales J. M. & Ballesteros S. 2014. Video

game training enhances cognition of older adults: A meta-analytic study. Psychology and Aging 29 (3): 706-716

Wasserman E. E., Pillion J. P, Duggan A., Nelson K.,

Rohde C., Seaberg E.C, Talor M. V, Yolken R. H. & Rose N. R. (2012). Childhood IQ, hearing loss and maternal thyroid autoimmunity in the Baltimore Collaborative Perinatal Project. International Pediactric Research Foundation, Inc 72(5):525-530. doi:10.1038/pr.2012.1177

Watson Andrea & Kelso Ginger L. (2014). The effect of Brain Gym® on academic engagement for children with developmental disabilities. International Journal of Special Education 29(2): 1-9

Wechsler, D. (1974). Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised. New York: Psychological Corporation.

Young & Furgal (2016). Effectiveness and implication of Sensory Integration Therapy on school performance of children with learning disabilities. International Journal of Neurorehabilitation 3(1):1-2

Vicary S. A., Calvo-Merino B. & Stevent C. J. (2014). Recognition of dance-like actions: Memory for static posture or dynamic movement?. Memory & Cognition 42(5): 755-767. doi 10.3758/s13421-014-0395-0

Zimmer H. D., Münzer S. & Umla-Runge K. (2010). Visuo-spatial working memory as a limited resource of cognitive processing. In: Crocker M. W. & Siekmann J. eds. Resource-Adaptove Cognitif Processes, Cognitive Technologies, Berlin: Springer, pp. 13-34. doi. 10.1007/978-3-540-89408-7 2



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of ICSAR

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Journal of ICSAR is Indexing by:



counter  ---> View Statistic

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.