How to identify working memory difficulties

How to identify working memory difficulties

If you know a child who only completes one or two instructions, never seems to be able to get started or complete a task, and can be (let’s be honest) more than a little frustrating with their ‘forgetfulness’, it may be a problem with 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 retaining and manipulating 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, 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, there are a range of strategies you can use to improve learning for a child with working memory difficulties. Addressing memory difficulties can also reduce off-task behaviour. This checklist does not provide a diagnosis but may help you to identify children in your class who experience working memory difficulties and refer them for further assessment.

In this working memory difficulties checklist you will

  • Learn what working memory is and why it’s critical for learning
  • Identify kids at risk of working memory difficulties using this simple checklist
  • Support children with working memory difficulties using our easy to follow tips
Download Memory Checklist