Dear Jacqui, My child in Year 6 has been diagnosed with weak working memory due to difficulties with school work. Please could you give some advice on how to support him?

Yes, your son will need support to overcome this difficulty. Working memory refers to the ability to hold auditory and/or visual information in the short term memory in order to manipulate it for a desired response i.e. mental maths.

Here are some tips:

  • Use the child’s strength to process information i.e. if the visual mode is strongest, use a diagram to help solve a problem.
  • Chunk information into short sentences and give only two at a time.
  • Encourage the child to ask for information chunking or visual support.
  • Compensate for weakness by routine and structure i.e. get the school’s help to have homework written down; have small business cards with reminders of what to have in the school bag or the P.E. bag.
  • Encourage your child to focus on one thing at a time and not to multi-task.
  • For your child to become aware of strategies that help him remember i.e. a rhyme, a rap, an image.
  • Consider having therapy for visualisation and language skills, as verbal (auditory) working memory will have an impact on language skills.
  • There are also computer programmes that can help i.e. CogMed Working Memory training. CogMed is a research based programme and can be done through a CogMed coach at my practice.
  • Use technology to aid memory by reminders and certain apps can be helpful too.