Is this you?
– Do you forget where you left your keys, but clearly remember incidents from your childhood?
– Do you go to the supermarket, even go to the right aisle and then forget what you need?
– Do you start a sentence and forget what you were going to say?
– Do you go into the spare room and then wonder what you were looking for?
Perhaps your child:
– Starts an activity she enjoys, but switches to something else before she finishes;
– Puts up his hand in class then forgets what he was going to say;
– Continually leaves her possessions on the bus;
– Forgets how to complete a simple two or three step task, such as being told to get his shorts, tee shirt and socks and put them in the laundry.
What is working memory?
Working memory uses shorter term memory to complete a task at hand. As we receive information we need to use immediately our brain processes it and stores it quickly. We put the car keys down and store that fact so that we can find them an hour later when we have to pick up the children. The brain recognizes that we won’t need that information tomorrow so we forget it.
Forgetting everyday, simple things may mean there is a problem with your working memory. This is the memory function we use for common tasks and for learning. We use working memory when we remember to call someone back or a task like picking up the children from school. We use it when we remember to pick up the milk and bread on the way home.
Your child uses working memory at school to learn maths, key facts and information; when they play memory games or remember the rules; when they remember where they left their lunchbox.
How can I improve my memory?
A poor working memory may impact on your daily life and be of concern, however there are steps you can take. A better memory can be achieved with attention building skills, effective strategies, exercises and games.
If you think you or a family member has a problem with working memory impacting on their life, for example, causing frustration, time wasting or learning difficulties, you may want an assessment.
There are many strategies that can be taught to strengthen skills and assist in better memory function. If you’re concerned contact a qualified professional for assessment and guidance.