One of the characteristics of ADD is a weak working memory. Working memory is your ability to store short term information AND process the information at the same time. If a child has a difficult time with working memory, learning becomes difficult.
For example, if you are asked to solve a math problem, you must be able to hold the numbers in your head long enough to manipulate them in order to arrive at the solution. The same principle applies to all areas of learning. It can also be why your child has a difficult time following through when you ask him to do something that requires multiple steps.
If you suspect a working memory problem, getting your child tested might be the next step you want to take to diagnose the type of working memory problem. the National Center for Learning Disabilities recommends two tests:
- The Automated Working Memory Assessment (AWMA), a PC-based assessment published by Pearson
- The Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning (WRAML-2), published by PRO-ED
For example, memorizing a set of numbers every day will improve your ability to do just that: memorize numbers. In addition, if you practiced your math facts day in and day out, you will eventually be more capable of recalling the answers in a very automated way. This may free up your brain enough to be able to focus on, say a math word problem better, or real life problems in life that require knowledge of these facts. In this way, improving working memory is very task specific, but the benefits have a far reaching effect.
So, I finally realize what all the hype around memorizing was about as a kid! For G, we are working on working memory by memorizing math facts, phonemes, spelling rules, scriptures, poems, and quotes. As these tasks become more automated, hopefully his brain will be "freed up" enough to really experience more and more success with learning.