This paper presents the results of research regarding the mnemonic abilities of primary school children with developmental delays. Empirical studies of impaired mental development offer an opportunity to elucidate the psychological mechanisms underlying the process of normal development and enable us to consider at a micro level the formation of mental processes in ontogeny, which would, under normal conditions, be nondescript and not always amenable to psychological analysis. The research addresses an experimental investigation of productivity and qualitative characteristics of mnemonic abilities among primary school students with developmental delays. V.D. Shadrikov’s Theory of Abilities, developed in a systemic approach framework, is the theoretical basis of the research. The method of deploying a memorization activity, as elaborated by V.D. Shadrikov and L.V. Cheremoshkina, was the investigation tool used. The sample included students in grades 1 to 4 between ages 7 to 12 and included a total of 100 children (66 boys and 34 girls). The control group of primary school students with typical development included 105 children (50 boys and 55 girls). The research consisted of several stages: a pilot study, experimental research (the test task was to memorize card #1; the basic task was to memorize cards #2 and #3; to reproduce cards #2 and #3; and to poll the students), mathematical data processing, and a description of the levels of mnemonic ability development among primary students with developmental delays. The following procedures were employed during statistical analysis: Spearman r3, Mann-Whitney U-test, Jonckheere-Terpstra test, and Kruskal-Wallis test.
The structure of mnemonic abilities in primary schoolchildren with developmental delays was determined to vary according to the underdevelopment of their operational mechanisms. For example, memory functions are based on the use of inborn mechanisms, and a portion of children differ in the type of underdevelopment of their perceptive abilities and attention abilities. Operational and regulative mechanisms of mnemonic abilities in primary schoolchildren with developmental delays are determined to exist at early stages of their formation. Significant differences in productivity and mnemonic abilities in primary school students with developmental delays were observed in comparison with their typically developing peers. In both children with developmental delay, as well as typical children, gender did not present any significant differences in memorization or the employment of functional mechanisms of mnemonic abilities. The analysis shows, and this paper discusses possible causes for subjects’ inability to copy simple nonverbal material after its correct reproduction is shown.
Keywords: delay of mental development, mnemonic abilities, functional mechanisms, operational mechanisms, regulation mechanisms, effect of inability to redraw earlier remembered and correctly reproduced material