Kids need working memory (WM) to perform a variety of tasks, to do well in class and at home, and to have and maintain acceptable social skills. Often times, children who have ADHD, autism and other developmental disorders find that their WM is also affected. Thankfully, programs like Interactive Metronome, CogMed and Fast ForWord, which are offered at Learn 2 Focus, can help keiki strengthen their WM skills.
1. Remembering Instructions
In order to complete tasks, often times we’re required to remember certain instructions and then follow them. For children who might have weak WM skills, it’s hard to rely on both incoming information and information that’s already been stored. Multi-step directions are particularly challenging, because keiki have trouble keeping in mind what comes next while they’re focusing on what they’re doing now.
2. Paying Attention
Speaking of focus, WM skills can cause problems with staying on the task to get to the end result. It’s happened to all of us – it’s like walking into a different room in your house and forgetting what you went there to do. This is because WM is responsible for maintaining concentration, while remembering what you need to be paying attention to.
3. Learning to Read
We talked about auditory WM skills in our last post. With reading, it helps kids hold onto the sounds letters make, and remember them long enough to sound out new words. Similarly, visual WM skills help kids remember what those words look like. This helps them recognize them throughout the sentence. When working effectively, these two kinds of WM skills keep kids from having to sound out every word they see. This helps them read with less hesitation and become fluent readers.
4. Solving Math Problems
In order to solve math problems, you need to remember math formulas and equations like building blocks. The most important “block” is the one at the bottom of the stack: the ability to recognize and reproduce patterns. This is the foundation that leads to the next block, which is seeing patterns in numbers. This helps you solve and remember basic math facts. What keeps the blocks from toppling over is the ability to remember, sequence and visualize information—all of which can be difficult for a child with weak WM.