Working Memory is a set of skills that helps us keep information in mind while using that information to complete a task or execute a challenge and involves a short-term use of memory and attention. It is the way that we delegate the things we encounter to the parts of our brain that can take action. In this way, working memory is necessary for staying focused on a task, blocking out distractions, and keeping us updated and aware about what’s going on around us. One way that we assess working memory is by giving the student a series of number orally (537) and asking them to repeat them back to us backwards (735).
When a student has weak working memory, their teacher may report any of the following:
- Missing and forgetting verbal instructions
- Easily distracted and difficulties staying on task
- Struggling with all the tasks of writing….spelling, punctuation, grammar, word order, etc.
- Difficulty with automatic memory of math facts and mental math
- Disorganized work space
- Difficulty with taking notes
- Difficulty with reading comprehension
- Forgets supplies
At home, you may notice that your student:
- struggles to remember more than one or two instructions at a time
- has a difficult time keeping their room organized or clean
- struggles to follow routines despite repetition (getting ready for school or bed)
- starts projects but never finishes them
- struggles to remember peoples names
- is always late
The good news is that there are ways to improve working memory in children and in adults. There are different therapies available that can “retrain” the brain and improve working memory skills across settings. For more information about these therapies or about our comprehensive evaluations that include a measure of working memory, feel free to contact our offices.