Jimmy has trouble sitting still, struggles to complete tasks on time, and is easily distracted. He always has three or four activities going on at once. He describes himself as a ‘very fast race car with no brakes’.

Poor inhibition is a central feature in those with ADHD. Inhibition is the ability to control impulsive behavior, thoughts, and speech. Inhibition is closely related to a cognitive skill called Executive Function, which helps plan, manage, and control behavior.

Students with ADHD, like Jimmy, not only have trouble sitting still but often act out. Teachers usually comment that their classroom performance is poor and they forget important information, the right books for their classes, or where they need to be. 


One of the most consistent findings in research studies is that students with ADHD have poor working memory, particularly when they have to remember visual information, such as graphs or images.

Students with ADHD are 4x more likely to have working memory problems compared to peers without attention problems.

This has serious impact on their learning. As a result of poor working memory, students with ADHD struggle in all areas of learning. They also find it difficult to cope with simple tasks in the classroom, such as following instructions, keeping track of where they need to be, and remembering to do their homework. 

This doesn’t mean that all children with poor working memory have ADHD.

In fact, as part of a different government-funded project, I found that children with poor working memory (without ADHD) are NOT impulsive or hyperactive.

They aren’t disrupting the class so the teacher may not notice that there is a problem. At least not until it’s too late. Not until they start struggling in the classroom because they haven’t grasped key concepts in the lesson.

Ultimately, both students with ADHD and those with poor working memory need learning support to excel. By training their working memory, we can help them make sense of what goes on in the classroom. 


There is exciting research that training working memory in children with ADHD can improve their working memory, IQ, and attention. In my own research using a Working Memory training program, Jungle Memory, parents commented that their children were more confident and able to focus better after training.

Teachers reported that the students were more motivated and were able to pay attention in class.

WATCH a clip from Jasmine, a young girl with poor working memory.