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Suffolk Center for Speech

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Week 2 – Improving working memory

Working memory is the ability to temporarily store information for immediate recall. We use our working memory every day, whether it is trying to remember a story someone told us, a phone number, or follow multi-step directions. There are two different types of working memory, auditory and visual-spatial. Auditory memory refers to what we are hearing, while visual-spatial refers to what we are seeing. Working memory is extremely important when it comes to learning as it can affect an individual’s academic skill, such as reading, spelling, and math skills. It can also have effects on a person’s daily living; following directions, completing tasks, problem solving, and organizing. So how can we improve our working memory skills? One way is through rehearsal training. Rehearsal training is when an individual whispers or says items over and over again to help the person remember the information presented. Typically developing children are usually able to use rehearsal spontaneously at about 7 years old but for children who are atypically developing onset of rehearsal is determined by intellectual level rather than age.

Rehearsal training is not the only way to target working memory either, in fact there are multiple fun ways to address working memory. For example, work on visualization skills. Have your child picture in his mind what he just read or heard (e.g. ask your child to imagine a scene, have them make a mental picture of what it looks like, where they are, and what they are doing. Then have them draw that picture. As they get better at visualizing they can start describing the picture instead of drawing it.). Play cards games, simple card games like Uno and Go Fish encourage the child to remember that cards they have as well as remember the rules of the game as they play.

Source: https://www.superduperinc.com/handouts/pdf/469_WorkingMemory.pdf & Loomes, C. (2008). doiThe effect of rehearsal training on working memory span of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 29(2), pp. 113-124. :10.1016/j.ridd.2007.01.001

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