Vision & Working Memory

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Working memory is a thinking skill that focuses on “memory in action”—the ability to juggle and manipulate multiple bits of information at the same time.

For example, you are using your working memory during a conversation as you remember details and respond based on the information you received.
You are using your working memory as you recall the steps of a recipe while preparing a dish.

Working memory allows you to store and use temporary information to carry out cognitive tasks like language, comprehension, reading, learning or reasoning. Think of it as a temporary sticky note in your brain that holds new information so that the brain can work with it briefly or connect it with other information.

Every day we use our working memory to complete our tasks and learn new things.

Signs and Symptoms That Your Child May Have Poor Working Memory Include…

  • Lack of focus
  • Needs more time and repetition when given instructions
  • Difficulty working with Math problems in the head
  • Difficulty following instructions that require multiple steps
  • Needs to re-read text
  • Difficulty retelling a story that is just being read to them

Why Should Parents Be Concerned?

Working memory is a key ability in learning. Kids learn by associating a new concept with previous ideas. A child with poor working memory may struggle in all areas of learning and may find it difficult to cope with simple tasks in the classroom.

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If your child has reduced working memory capacity, they may find it hard to retain information as more new information is taught. For example, a teacher may ask your child to add 7 and 8 then subtract 5. Your child may forget either of the numbers, or fail to hold on to the sum of 15 in order to subtract 5.

Following practical instructions may also be challenging. For example, a teacher may tell your child to put away their book and take out their pen and paper. Your child may only complete one task and forget the other.

Working memory is important for reasoning, decision-making and will play a role in your child’s behaviour. A child with poor working memory may feel frustrated trying to get things to make sense and may lose their motivation to learn new things.

How Can We Help?

Thorough and Thoughtful Evaluation

We will evaluate your child to determine areas where they may be struggling. If we find out that working memory is the reason, we will implement steps to enhance their working memory with our tried-and-tested solutions.

Targeted Tests for Memory Skills

We will do a DVIP testing (developmental vision information processing), a comprehensive assessment that tests your child’s ability to process and understand what they see. This includes standardised memory tests (auditory and visual) that allows us to assess your child’s memory skills.

Tailored Vision Therapy Program

Following on from that, a tailored developmental vision therapy program can be devised to help develop the skills your child may be having difficulty with.

Cogmed Program for Working Memory

We also offer Cogmed, a computerised program that specifically targets working memory. Cogmed combines cognitive neuroscience with innovative computer game design and close professional support to deliver lasting benefits for your child.

Note: Working Memory testing is currently available only at Eyecare Kids Hillsdale.

Your child’s vision deserves the best care. Book a Behavioural Optometry Test Today.

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