Working Memory and Processing Speed Interventions

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by MissAnt, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. MissAnt

    MissAnt Comrade

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    Jun 29, 2011

    Many of my students (I teach K/1) have moderate to significant delays in working memory and processing speed. What are some interventions I can put into place to strengthen these two areas of weakness?

    I just finished my first year and I'm still learning so anything you can share about these two areas would be extremely helpful.
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 29, 2011

    For working memory, we work a lot with chunking information. Helping students to find chunks and then create mnemonic devices to remember information.

    My speech teacher works with students showing them pictures and then having them tell a story about the pictures once they are taken away.
     
  4. MissAnt

    MissAnt Comrade

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    Jun 29, 2011

    I work on chunks with them quite a bit. I really like the picture idea and can certainly modify that based on each student.
     
  5. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Jun 29, 2011

    For me I remember best with songs or little sayings (acronyms). I know little ones really like songs... come up with something to remember their phone number or address. You know like for the notes on the lines of a music graph are FACE.
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 30, 2011

    Processing speed is difficult to increase or decrease... You can work on timing them doing something, then time them doing something similar a week or two later. Have them try to meet benchmarks...maybe.
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    I agree processing speed is hard to increase. However, processing speed encompasses several different types of visual skills that can also be hindered by other underlying brain processes. So, getting the right intervention has much to do with knowing what other weaknesses may be getting in the way. Processing speed when discussing an assessment like the WISC is primarily a visual task so many things can hinder the scores. What does the report say? Does the evaluation offer any suggestions?

    One thing I do know helps both working memory and processing speed is overlearning to automaticity. Something we don't really focus on school the way we used to. Now getting to automaticity depends on what you are trying to teach. Moving things from working memory to long term memory takes focused time on task with a small portion of information. The next skill that really needs to be worked on with kids like this is finding the connections between things because the weakened skills in both areas hinder this development.

    Chunk to very small tasks, overlearn, constant review. It will be a slower learning process, but it can be done. An immediate answer following a lesson does not show mastery for these students. Only showing mastery at a later unrealted time on several occasions will show you if the child has retained and can now recall it independently. Any "mastery" immediately following a review or a lesson will not show true mastery for these kids. So, building on the false assumption will only make you think the child is not caring to use knowledge that he has mastered - fact is the child hasn't really mastered it.

    Good luck. A child like this takes time, patience, and focused instruction. They do much better working on very small skills one at a time rather than trying to get the to integrate skills they have not yet mastered. If you were talking about an older child I would give the example of trying to get a kid to work on mastering proper sentences while trying to write a paragraph. Not good for kids like this. Build individual small skills and teach the child how to connect the dots by slowly building up to the main skill. Our early writing programs do not do this in general education (nor in special education because most kids with this profile suffer years of gen ed before getting help then the focus is on the bigger picture because they are too afraid to go back because it might take too long. In the end the kids don't learn what they need because the focus is too large.)

    Good luck.

    If you can script something for the parents to work with the child in the evening in lieu of some other assignment that really isn't appropriate for the child anyway, it might be helpful if the parent is capable and willing.
     
  8. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Jun 30, 2011

    a2z... very good points. You triggered how we used flashcards a lot in school. Maybe they could make flashcards to bring home. I mean you could do it...but some people remember better by doing it as well.

    I remember a lot of word association stuff. When I was in school we had the letter people & our teacher made such a big deal about the day the new letter came to stay....
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 30, 2011

    a2z---well put! It is so difficult to focus on all the small pieces that should have been learned when the focus is now on using those pieces.
     

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