How Working Memory Influences Learning Disabilities.
When I explained working memory to a ten-year-old last week, he said, “I get it. It’s called working memory because it’s the memory you need to do your work.”
When working memory is weak your child can appear careless and unfocused. Despite your child’s efforts—they can’t seem to do anything right. A weak working memory influences countless areas related to learning and can even lead to an LD diagnosis.
Working memory is used constantly. Difficulty remembering a series of instructions, recalling the sequence of events and poor concentration are all possible indicators. Like the trunk of your car, it’s temporary storage until you arrive home and decide where to put your parcels.
Working memory is where information is stored temporarily while your child completes other cognitive tasks. It allows your child to remember the correct sequence of steps to solve a math equation as they also try to calculate the answer. If it is weak, they may forget the sentence they thought up because now they have to think about which word-of-the-week to use in their writing.
When you ask your child to complete a series of chores before his friend comes over and only one—or none are completed—you might think he is being defiant or lazy—never suspecting a weak working memory.
Working memory is limited both in the amount of information it can store and for how long. A person with a good working memory can store approximately 7 items for 30 seconds without rehearsal before breakdown starts to occur. Information can be lost through distraction, information overload or the passage of time—within 15 minutes to 24 hours—depending how meaningful the information. The number is even less for the child with a weak working memory.
When a child is walking a tight rope between remembering what to do next while trying to focus on what they are doing now, low self-esteem and lack of motivation can occur. Learn more next time on how you can improve working memory.