WORKING MEMORY & LEARNING
3 key facts from my research:
· Working memory is a significant predictor of learning success. My research has confirmed that working memory capacity at 5 years old is a better predictor of educational outcomes than IQ, even six years later.
· 1 in 10 students have a low working memory. In my study of over 3000 students, I found that 10% have working memory impairments that lead to learning difficulties.
· A student with a low working memory will not ‘catch up’ with their peers. As part of my government-funded grants, I have conducted large-scale screening studies of thousands of children and found that without early diagnosis, working memory impairment negatively impacts a student’s performance throughout their school career.
ADHD & WORKING MEMORY
Children with ADHD are 4x more likely to have visual working memory problems compared to peers without attention problems.
AUTISM & WORKING MEMORY
Low-functioning students with ASD have impairments in verbal working memory profile that impacts language. Poor visual working memory can play an important role in their struggles.
DYSLEXIA & WORKING MEMORY
Children with dyslexia have poor auditory working memory, which results in poor reading and comprehension.
MATH DIFFICULTIES & WORKING MEMORY
1. Core Deficit: Students with math difficulties have poor number sense, which results in difficulties learning number rules and arithmetic facts in younger children, and solving complex arithmetic and word problems in older children.
2. Working Memory profile: Impairments in visual–spatial working memory. Young students (5-7 years) can also have verbal working memory deficits, while older students (8 years and older) may have average verbal working memory.
3. Strategies: Automatize math facts and use visual representation to minimize working memory processing.
MOTOR DIFFICULTIES (DCD) & WORKING MEMORY
1. Core Deficit: Students with DCD have difficulties with fine and gross motor skills, as well as visual problems.
2. Working Memory Profile: Impairments in visual–spatial working memory: Students with DCD are 7x more likely to have poor visual–spatial working memory compared to typically developing peers.
3. Strategies: Shorter instructions and activities; and reduce visual-spatial working memory processing in classroom activities.