Working memory is a critical brain function because it provides a ‚Äúmental scratchpad‚Äù on which we hold information while mentally engaged in other related activities. Working memory weaknesses are found in many conditions, such as AD/HD, learning disabilities, traumatic brain injury, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety disorders, and others.
How do I know if my child has a weakness with working memory?
Here is a quick screening instrument:
- When given three things to do, remembers only the first or last.
- Has a short attention span.
- Has trouble concentrating on chores, schoolwork, etc.
- Is easily distracted by noises, activity, sights, etc.
- Has trouble with chores or tasks that have more than one step.
- Needs help from an adult to stay on task.
- Forgets what he/she is doing.
- When sent to get something, forgets what he/she is supposed to get.
- Has trouble finishing tasks (chores, homework).
- Has trouble remembering things, even for a few minutes.
What can I do to improve my child‚Äôs working memory?
The Cogmed Working Memory Training Program has been developed for children and adults and consists of a specific set of working memory tasks that are performed on a computer, five days a week over five weeks. The tasks continually adjusted to match the individual‚Äôs performance and as a result, individuals are consistently challenged to perform at their highest possible level. Results from several research studies indicate that systematic training of working memory with Cogmed can improve cognitive performance, including improved attention, better complex reasoning skills, and better ability to organize and multi-task.