Working Memory

(11 Posts)
Kjt74 Thu 28-Jan-16 08:36:14

I'm looking for some advice or guidance on improving DD's working memory (she's in Y3). We have recently spoken with the school who have confirmed DD's problems with maths etc are largely related to her not being able to retain the information. She can do a question 5 or 6 times then by the 7th one, it's like she's a blank slate and doesn't know where to start.

We've arranged a maths tutor to work one-to-one with her but wonder whether anyone knows of any websites that address improving a child's working memory? I've seen COGMED and JUNGLE MEMORY but JM has poor reviews for being too difficult and we don't want her to be disheartened as she does require lots of praise and encouragement.

Any help or advice will be gratefully appreciated!

TheGreatSnafu Thu 28-Jan-16 10:38:32

We found Jungle Memory useless, I agree, don't use it.

What we found after reading a lot about neuroplasticity is that pretty much anything that stimulates the need for working memory can help - so we assessed his likes and found working memory gaps in the activities that he enjoyed and then we tried to get our DS motivated to use his working memory for things that he enjoyed.

We first used supports (often visual) then faded them out. The good news is that now he has a very strong working memory so improvements can be made but they do take time.

How severe is her impairment - i.e. can she pack a bag on her own? complete 3 or 4 part verbal tasks - i.e. if you tell her "go into the kitchen, open the cupboard over the dishwasher, and bring me the blue bowl on the left" could she remember that when she got into the kitchen?

It may be that she has a weak working memory in some settings and not others - if she can visualise herself in the kitchen but not visualise a maths problem (if that makes sense)

Kjt74 Thu 28-Jan-16 12:34:37

She would be absolutely fine with those kinds of tasks and her reading is okay too.

She is learning her times tables and often gets halfway through and they are just gone from her head. Similarly when she is working through some KS1 books i ordered for her, halfway down the page she's just loses it.

She can be very easily distracted which doesn't help either.

The school say that she also struggles with problem solving type maths, so rather than 6 x 3 she would get Bob has 6 bags in each bag he has 3 apples, how many apples does Bob have? She simply doesn't know where to start to break them down, partly because she isn't retaining the times tables or recognising the problem is a times table type problem.

TheGreatSnafu Thu 28-Jan-16 15:25:39

I'm a bit confused - did someone qualified tell you that this was a working memory problem?

My DC who had terrible working memory could memorise times tables without problem and recall the information as it was long term memory.

But if you said "74" to him and then 10 seconds later said what number did I say he couldn't remember.

Is it only in academics that this problem is apparent? Because at first description it seems like a different type of problem than working memory.

Being able to solve one type of math problem but not another type wouldn't have to do with working memory unless it was mental maths.

Sorry, I'm a bit confused and not sure I am being helpful.

Labtest7 Fri 29-Jan-16 10:22:48

My daughter also has a very poor working memory. She had chemo between the ages of 4 and 6 to treat leukaemia and her consultant believes this has caused the problem. In cognitive assessments her verbal iq was very high but working memory fell on the 9th percentile or thereabouts. She can learn her tables but they are not retained, same thing with number bonds. It doesn't affect reading or spelling. She is 9 with a reading age of around 16 and equally good at spelling. Her school use visual aides and allow her extra time in assessments but this is also because chemo has affected her fine motor skills and as a result her handwriting is often illegible!!

rakha Wed 09-Mar-16 11:43:13

Hi
Please have a look at www.memorypower.org

MumTryingHerBest Wed 09-Mar-16 13:05:00

Kjt74 has anyone mentioned the possiblity of dyslexia?

What you have described above is the same for my DD who has been diagnosed with dyslexic and dyspraxic traits.

For all of yr 1 and part of yr 2 it seems that she was working so hard to keep up and was being bombarded with more than she could handle so she was just switcing off. I would go over her homework with her and part way through it would be like everything she had learned or done up to that point had been completely flushed out of her head.

Early in year 2 my DDs class teacher said that she had noticed that my DD seemed to particularly struggle with written maths problems.

It is not uncommon for dyslexic children to struggle with times tables either.

It is often thought that DCs with dyslexia struggle to learn to read. However, that is not always the case and certainly my DD reads very well.

UnmentionedElephantDildo Wed 09-Mar-16 13:06:59

Anyone had good experiences with COGMED? I've just come across if and am considering it for DD

mrz Wed 09-Mar-16 20:37:19

www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/10/neuroscientists-speak-out-against-brain-game-hype

Misty9 Thu 10-Mar-16 20:21:05

Your short descriptions do sound more like an executive functioning problem rather than working memory alone - which would fit with dyspraxia as pp mentioned. How is she with coordination and physical activity? Social communication skills? To be honest I would be asking for a referral to the ed psych possibly... have the school suggested this?

asnmdirteha Fri 08-Apr-16 17:13:14

Have you heard back from the tutor in regards to her progress? I agree that "working memory" might be too general of a term in regards to what she might actually be struggling with. When my students struggled with remembering basic multiplication and adding double digits I used a few various websites to help them out. Kumon was great with repetition but students quickly realized that it was the same questions so they stopped trying. I had to resort to other books like Spectrum, Singapore Math etc., but what really stuck with my students was Beestar. It has a lot of worksheets and maybe jogging her interest in the subject might "click" better than tedious repetition. Every child thinks differently so give Beestar a try and see. You can also try out the GT section and maybe the extra challenge may help her to want to work more towards remembering something and that might help too.

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