The Connection Between Working Memory and School Success

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By Heather Lovell; LearningRx
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Multiple studies show the connection between strong working memory and high IQ as well as strong working memory and school success. And now a new study highlighted by Dr. David Rabiner from Duke University also shows that a stronger working memory also affects behavior, especially in children with ADHD.  

The results published online recently in Neurotherapeutics, "suggest that working memory training can yield reductions in off task behavior during academic work for children with ADHD. This has not been previously demonstrated and begins to address an important gap in the research base on working memory training for ADHD, i.e., the limited indication of training effects that generalize to the classroom," according to Dr. Rabiner. 

This study looked at students who underwent working memory training and then were observed doing academic worksheets. Students who had completed the training sessions looked away from their papers less, played with nearby toys less, and stayed on task more than the control group that did not undergo the training.


So what is working memory and why is it so important for school? Working memory allows you to hold several pieces of information in your brain and manipulate them to be used. This would include parts of multi-step directions, numbers in a word problem, and the paragraph you just finished reading. Therefore, working memory is extremely important in a school setting and often students who struggle in school or have been diagnosed with ADHD have weaker working memories.

Thankfully, working memory can be improved. Intense and structured brain training can improve the neural connections that are responsible for working memory and other cognitive skills. Like the study mentioned above, focused training can be used to improve the connections in the brain responsible for working memory.

The best way to determine if you or your child has a weakness in this area is to complete a cognitive skills assessment. If a weakness is found. LearningRx can customize a brain training program to strengthen the deficient cognitive skills. A strong working memory can improve IQ, on-task behavior, confidence in school and overall success! 

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