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Poor Working Memories Can Cause Kids to Fail in School

British researchers have identified a new kind of learning disability - defects in working memory - that may affect up to 10 percent of all children.

Working memory is the brain's temporary "storage bin." It allows people to mentally store and manipulate an average of three to five items at once. Children with poor working memories often appear lazy or unintelligent in school. The disability seems to be linked to Attention Deficit Disorder.

"One little girl told me recently, 'Every time I read a sentence it erases the one that was before it,'" said Dr. Mel Levine. "That's a perfect example of an active working memory dysfunction." Dr. Levine is co-founder of All Kinds of Minds, a nonprofit institute in Durham, N.C., that studies learning differences. Children like this little girl cannot remember the first sentence on a page as they continue to read the rest of it.
"In children with learning difficulties, it becomes a huge issue, especially around middle school where the demands on working memory grow dramatically," Dr. Levine said.
Working memory is the single best predictor of academic success, said the study's author, Dr. Tracey Alloway of Britain's Durham University. Memory training exercises can help children with poor working memories, but the bigger problem is that the condition is rarely diagnosed.

Labels: learning_disabilites, memory, dysfunction

Posted By: Aspen Education Group