Education Paper on Working Memory in Students with Disabilities

Working memory is significantly associated with academic achievement; hence, even a minimal WM capacity can have a substantial impact on general mental operations as well as acquisition of skills and knowledge for the process of learning (Peng & Fuchs, 2016). WM varies between persons in relation to the amount of information that retained and how information is efficiently processed. As such, WM enables one to retain material for a short period and work with it in the meanwhile (Bergman & Söderqvist, 2017).

Conversely, educational opportunities are hindered when individuals fail to accomplish tasks due to forgetting or improperly remembering content critical to the learning process (Connor, Alberto, Compton & O’Connor, 2014). Additionally, students with WM insufficiency face challenges with responsibilities that require both storage and recovery of information, face difficulties in holding their place during tasks, and are weak at observing the outcomes of their activities and usually need assistance in the classroom (Redick et al., 2015). Kids affected by this kind of disorder easily get distracted and face difficulties in recalling and following directives. Similarly, students with literacy challenges indicate intense impairment in the central executive and phonological loop, but not in the visuospatial circle (Malekpour, Aghababaei & Abedi, 2013).

Students affected by impairment of WM capacity are likely to experience lack of focus when involved in activities that require cognitive engagement (Gathercole et al., 2016). For instance, these children may find it a challenge parsing the material necessary for all cerebral operations due to a burdened WM. Significantly, students experiencing a WM deficit face difficulties in determining written texts, which can thus hamper reading comprehension (Booth, Boyle & Kelly, 2014).

As such, academic success is affected by the student’ WM aptitude and those displaying poor WM commonly attain low grades in tasks such as reading and math. Further, inadequate WM negatively impacts the attainment of foundational skills such as interpreting words and reading interpretation (Melby-Lervåg & Hulme, 2013). Scholars suffering from WM lapse face difficulties in being alert during lessons as they tend to forget information quicker compared to their peers (Miller et al., 2013).

Consequently, it is evident from numerous studies that kids with literacy difficulty indicates severe cognitive impairments in the central executive and the phonological loop but not on the visuospatial sketchpad. As such, these children tend to portray various limitations on their learning process such as intense spelling mistakes leading to poor academic grades (Carretti, Caldarola, Tencati & Cornoldi, 2014). Additionally, low working memory among juveniles with education disorder has been associated with poor language comprehension, finding solutions to a given problem, and fluid intelligence.  Significantly, teens with inadequate WM conveys a challenge in getting started on various classroom assignment since their WM have been overloaded with all the instructions they have obtained.

Importantly, children with poor working memory are usually slow to copy things down from the board since they find it cumbersome to remember more than one or two words at the same time, thus, the need to frequently check and recheck the initial sentence (Brandenburg et al., 2015). Significantly, the kids normally have a problem in answering questions or being involved in class discussions as they might have forgotten part or all the questions. Therefore, they are always not sure if some of the informative materials they are volunteering to reply have already been discussed or have forgotten about the topic being deliberated (Dirk & Schmiedek, 2017). As such, they normally miss out on new information that is communicated because they are still trying to recall the essential thing mentioned earlier.





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Gathercole, S. E., Woolgar, F., Kievit, R. A., Astle, D., Manly, T., Holmes, J., & CALM Team. (2016). How common are WM deficits in children with difficulties in reading and mathematics? Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 5(4), 384-394. DOI: S2211368116301383

Malekpour, M., Aghababaei, S., & Abedi, A. (2013). Working memory and learning disabilities. International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 59(1), 35-46. DOI: 10.1179/2047387711Y.0000000011

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Peng, P., & Fuchs, D. (2016). A meta-analysis of working memory deficits in children with learning difficulties: Is there a difference between verbal domain and numerical domain? Journal of learning disabilities, 49(1), 3-20. DOI: 10.1177/0022219414521667

Redick, T. S., Shipstead, Z., Wiemers, E. A., Melby-Lervåg, M., & Hulme, C. (2015). What’s working in working memory training? An educational perspective. Educational Psychology Review, 27(4), 617-633. DOI: 10.1007/s10648-015-9314-6