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Working Memory

Another one of the executive functions is working memory.  Working memory isn't real memory. Working memory is a temporary place you put information so that your brain can use it to meet some goal.

For example, when I'm getting dressed, I might say, Oh, I'm going to go upstairs and find my shoes. Well, as I'm going up the there is that my age is pretty common that when I get up to the top of the stairs, I've completely forgotten about why I went up there, which causes me to have to go back downstairs and then I remember, and then I have to walk back upstairs again. So this is working memory. It's not real memory, this information like putting my shoes on, I don't really mean to store in my long-term memory for the rest of my life, it's just there in a temporary way to help me meet my goals,

Delays in working memory for a student tend to have a profound impact on their day. If you have some working memory challenges, you might forget the directions, and if there are three directions you might remember one or two and forget the third one, you might forget what homework needs to be done, you might think in your mind, that you wanna ask the teacher a question, but you have to wait until the teacher finish speaking, and then by the time the teacher calls on you, you've completely forgotten what you were gonna say.

Or another way that working memory can interfere is when we're reading. So when you're reading, your eyes are moving over the word, so you might get to the end of the paragraph and all these words are getting dropped in your working memory, and the time you get to the end of the paragraph of those words, he bled through. Then you're not going to have any idea. You're going to go What? And then you're going to have to start the paragraph all over again, so kids with reading who are good readers, but they have working memory challenges tend to be re-readers, they're slow readers because they have to read the same text over and over again.

Working memory can also interfere with note-taking. So the teacher is speaking, you're loading all that information in your working memory, and then when you're getting ready to write it in your notes, if this information bleeds out, if you're working memory, then you might have to raise your hand and say, can you say that again for me? Which we all know that a lot of adolescents won't do that. It really interferes with note taking. Quite a bit written expression, having an idea, having a couple of sentences in your mind, and then by the time you're able to type them out or write them out, if your working memory isn't robust enough to hold on to it and it bleeds out, you have to contract what you wanted to write all over again, so working memory challenges interfere and almost every subject across the board at home, at school, with friends.

So here at HeadWorks, we come up with strategies to teach the kids of how we're going to make sure that they remember to remember. It's a lot of use of timers and writing things down and putting things in the same place, and strategies like that.

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