The Impact of Working Memory Difficulties on Learning

Working memory problems are one of the most common learning issues that we come across in our clinic.

Working memory difficulties often co-exist with other issues, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and AD/HD but they can also be a stand-alone problem.

It can be hard to get your head around what working memory actually is, let alone how to go about reducing the impact of a working memory problem on your child’s learning.

Here’s a brief overview to help to clear up some of the mystery.

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Special Exam Conditions for Students With Dyslexia

I recently read the story of a South Australian Year 12 student with dyslexia – a student who had his request for extra time in exams denied by the South Australian Certificate of Education review panel.

I was immediately struck by how common this story is and how easily the boy in this story could have been many of the students that I have come to know.

Despite the prevalence of dyslexia (recent figures estimate that one in twenty individuals are dyslexic), there are still a lot of misconceptions about this disorder and what individuals with dyslexia can and cannot do.

Many people believe that those with dyslexia are completely illiterate and there are even those (educators included) who don’t believe that dyslexia exists at all!

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Understanding Problems With Executive Function

Executive function is an umbrella term for a set of cognitive abilities that control and regulate other abilities and behaviours. As the name suggests, executive function refers to high-level abilities that influence lower-level abilities (such as attention, memory, and organisation).

Our executive function is therefore responsible for purposeful and self-directed behaviours, such as planning, organising, problem solving, as well as self-monitoring and self-regulating skills.

As you can imagine, these skills are vital for success at school and work, and to fit in socially.

So what types of issues lead to problems with executive function?

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Dyslexia in Children – Some Helpful Facts

There are many myths and misconceptions about dyslexia.

In fact, it’s a very complex and confusing topic for parents and educators alike…

So this week I decided to answer some common questions we get asked about dyslexia in children.

What is Dyslexia?

The word “dyslexia” literally means “difficulty with words”. Its meaning comes from the Greek roots:

  • DYS – impaired, difficulty with, or inability to; and
  • LEXIS – word.

In fact, there has never been a single, broadly accepted scientific definition of dyslexia as a specific disorder and it has been used mainly as a general term applied to anyone who has difficulty with reading or who tends to confuse or mix up sequences of letters and numbers.

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Buyer Beware – Controversial Assessments And Treatments For Learning Problems

I must admit I am constantly appalled at the number of highly questionable products and services advertised which claim to diagnose or treat learning disorders but which lack scientific credibility.

Even more disturbing is the way that some organisations are misleading the public by claiming their interventions are effective and citing pseudo-scientific research in support of their dubious claims.

In some cases parents are being persuaded to spend thousands of dollars on programs that claim to treat dyslexia or other learning disorders!

Parents naturally want to find solutions to help their children overcome learning problems, but it’s important to realise there are no “quick fixes” and any such promises should be taken with a very large grain of salt.

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Why is Early Intervention for Learning Difficulties so Critical?

Imagine this:

Jack is a little boy who has just started school. He is happy, motivated and eager to learn.

Soon afterwards, Jack’s mother notices that he is struggling to master skills that seem relatively easy for other children. And no matter how hard he tries, he finds it difficult to complete tasks on time.

His self-esteem has taken a hit, too. He is not as confident or as happy as he used to be. He is constantly frustrated and Jack’s mum realises his motivation for school and for learning is quickly fading.

She wonders… What can she possibly do to help?

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Dyslexia Help – 9 Tips to Improve Your Child’s Learning Skills

Dyslexia is a commonly used term for a difficulty with learning to read or with interpreting words, letters, numbers and other symbols.

Such problems may be manifested as poor reading fluency or comprehension, difficulties with maths and ‘delayed processing’ (the inability to rapidly name letters, symbols or numbers). Some people with dyslexia even report that letters appear to “move around the page” when they try to read.

(More recently, the disorder has been relabelled as a “specific learning disorder in the domain of reading” in the upcoming 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statstical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-5.)

The term dyslexia is commonly used, but often poorly understood.

In fact, it has taken me nearly ten years as an educator and a psychologist to be able to effectively diagnose the disorder, explain to parents what it means for their child and provide targeted recommendations to help improve their child’s learning skills.

Here are my top nine tips to help your child with dyslexia improve their learning skills:

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