Today I’ll be sharing about one of my favorite cognitive skills! Is it too nerdy to say I have a favorite cognitive skill? Oh well, I do! It’s working memory! This skill does SO much for us if it’s strong and has an impact on our whole person if it’s weak! A student who has strong working memory is going to be quicker, more accurate, and more focused on the tasks given to them! Many students who struggle with this cognitive skill are very smart but aren’t able to show it because their working memory weakness is holding them back!
Working memory acts as the “post it” in your brain. It’s responsible for holding onto information long enough for you to use it. It helps you by keeping that information while you make decisions, answer math problems, remember driving directions, cooking from a recipe, and countless other daily tasks!
Working memory is actually 3 part of the brain “working together” to function: verbal short term memory, visual-spatial short term memory, and central executive. These three create a “video” for your brain to play back, which allows you to finish the task at hand.
Your working memory actually increases naturally as you get older, or at least it should. In kindergarten children should be able to hold onto 2 or so items in their working memory. By the time we reach adulthood, we should be able to hold 5-7 items, but this is often not the case! I’ve worked with many middle school and high school students who struggle with THREE items! Just imagine how this affects their learning. In fact, it’s said that working memory is a better indicator of intelligence than the IQ test!
When a student has a poor working memory, daily tasks become difficult, frustrating, and sometimes impossible. Following a morning “get ready” routine, learning long division, remembering spelling rules while writing… all of these tasks require working memory. As we get older, especially once students hit middle school and high school, teachers and curriculum expect a certain level of attention and capability which often require several steps and a strong working memory.
Here are some signs and symptoms to watch out for when working memory is weak. Keep in mind that many of these symptoms are also symptoms of other cognitive weaknesses. If you think your child has MANY of these symptoms, I encourage you to reach out and look into our evaluation process! We test for cognitive skills, primitive reflexes, and more, and can help you find the best methods for overcoming learning challenges.
Our Working Memory Workshop OR our Working Memory Workbook is a great place to start improving this skill today! You’ll gain more information on how working memory affects and helps learning, AND you’ll receive a workbook full of exercises to improve this cognitive skills! Check it out below!
Want to try it out before purchasing? Fill out the form below for your FREE working memory game “Echo Echo”, just one of many exercises in the full workbook!