19 Sep Working Memory Checklist: Ways to Identify a Child with Working Memory Problems
Have you ever walked into a room and forgot why you ever entered that room? Well, for children with working memory problems, this is a frequent daily occurrence.
What is working memory?
Working memory is the ability to hold information in the mind while performing a task with it. It is often described as the brain’s post-it note, as it involves the holding and manipulating of short-term information. Working memory is a stronger predictor of academic success than IQ and is needed for almost all classroom and daily life tasks. It is critical for learning and decision making. Most people can hold around 4 pieces of information in working memory for about 10-20 seconds, but for people with working memory problems (around 3-5 kids in every classroom), it can be much less.
Children with working memory problems are often described as unfocused, distractible, lost and even lazy. Working memory does not improve with age (maturity) and usually remains an area of difficulty for life. However, some new research suggests it may be possible to increase an individual’s working memory performance. The great news is, teachers can use a range of strategies to improve learning for children with working memory difficulties. Addressing memory difficulties can also reduce off task behaviours.
Please bear in mind this checklist does not provide a diagnosis, but may help you to identify children in your class who experience working memory difficulties.