Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Improving Working Memory

Improve Working Memory at School

Put homework assignments in writing. Write each assignment on the blackboard in the same place every day, so that students know where to find it. Kids with ADD/ADHD may not be listening or paying attention when you give them oral instructions -- and you can’t rely on them to always remember instructions.
Find out what they heard. Have students with weak working memory repeat assignment instructions and clarify any parts that they may have forgotten.
Make time at the end of class for students to write down homework in their assignment books. Make sure the kids with ADD/ADHD are doing what you’ve asked.
Make eye contact with a child before giving him a classroom assignment.
Keep homework assignments on the school website up-to-date. Parents of kids with ADD/ADHD depend on this information to make sure their kids know what to do.
Speak slowly and provide information in small units. Given too much information at once, a child with weak working memory quickly loses track. She may still be working through the first few minutes of the lesson after you’ve moved on.
Improve Working Memory at Home

Assign a designated place for your child to put important stuff -- house keys, wallet, sports equipment. As soon as he gets home from school, make sure he puts those things where they belong. A reward for following through -- or a penalty for not -- will reinforce the habit of staying organized.
Create a reminder checklist to make sure your child has everything she needs to bring to school. In the beginning, watch as she goes through the checklist, to make sure she’s putting every item in her backpack. Do not repeat what’s on the list, but ask her to tell you (this helps to transfer the information from your working memory to hers). Have your child use the checklist when she finishes her homework the night before, to avoid rushing around in the morning.
Make, and use, to-do lists yourself, so that your child sees this is a lifelong coping strategy. Life is too complicated to expect kids to commit everything to memory!
Brainstorm with your child about ways he can remember important things. Can he write it on the back of his hand, program his smartphone to remind him, ask friends with better memories to prompt him?

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