Working memory allows us to process, retain, and use new information. It is a crucial factor that influences how we learn and develop. A poor working memory can cause many learning and attention deficit impairments in children. A child who has challenges with working memory will have problems with slow progress in the classroom, task completion, and difficulties in social activities.
Think of working memory as temporary storage space in your brain. Its purpose is to briefly retain new information so that you can later connect and use that information in the future. Children who have difficulty “staying on track” likely deal with some issues related to their working memory. For instance, a parent tells a child to rinse off his plate, put it in the dishwasher, and wash his hands. The child rinses off his plate, however, fails to complete the other two tasks. Rather than attributing this lack of task completion to laziness; a child suffering from working memory deficits would simply forget about them.
Working memory is an essential component for many day-to-day activities (e.g. following instructions, listening and reading comprehension, participating in conversations, engaging in sports, playing board games, accomplishing academic projects, etc.). Working memory is an active process with the purpose of capturing new information and processing it for later use.
The brain has a finite capacity for processing and juggling multiple information at one time. Everyone will have limits with working memory—whether it’s failing to remember the name of someone you just met or forgetting an item on your shopping list. For those with learning disorders, having challenges with working memory becomes a much bigger problem. Because working memory is an active process, it needs a certain amount of cognitive “horsepower”.
For example, a child with dyslexia reads a passage in a book. He spends a great deal of his cognitive horsepower interpreting the letters he sees into coherent words and sentences. His working memory attempts to work simultaneously, yet most of his cognitive horsepower is being consumed by his dyslexia. This can make it difficult for the child to retain and recall the content of the passage being read. Over time, this can create anxiety and distress when having to face a challenging task.
At Little Thinkers Center, we understand working memory issues, and can dramatically improve the memory limits of your child. Our process is simple: we thoroughly assess each child for weaknesses in working memory, and construct an individualized, fluid curriculum to address those challenges. Rather than focusing on age-based curriculums, our program is structured around the child’s unique way of learning and level of abilities.
A series of memory-related exercises intended to expand the limits of working memory are introduced according to each child’s developmental level and readiness. Memory recall tasks, such as those used in our Visual Thinking activities, work to improve how the child processes and recalls short-term information. Our Logical Thinking puzzles and games help to increase the mental horsepower of each child. Consistent tasks are given to accelerate the learning process for those with working memory challenges.