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Working Memory Q&A

I am seeing something with a student I've actually never seen before....
He's incredibly bright.....logic skills amazing... he's had numerous interventions that seem to point to attention issues...however, something else emerged...
His working memory literally stops working after a few lines.  Let's say he's reading the numbers on one activity aloud with the metronome on 60 bpm... he's doing fine the first 3 lines... looks good... then starts calling numbers anything but what they are... 8 is 7 ... 5 is 1... no consistency to how he misses... he just starts missing.... the same thing with letters.
We were playing a game on the computer ... Level 1 they call out 20, 87, 59..... he remembers them perfectly and finds them on the screen... he can do the first 3 groups... fourth group... 92, 25, 15... NOTHING... I even repeat them... NOTHING... nothing from what he previously heard.. the ability to now recall has vanished.  
 I'll ask him if he know a particular story and he recalls perfectly. HE really needs the metronome and we now have it going in the background. He likes to hold it as well and feel the beat. He's in 5th grade.
*** Spinal Galant NOT integrated.  Visual Processing weak.  
ANY IDEAS????????
Your student gets what Mel Levine calls Mental Fatigue. It comes from a small digit span or working memory. This is not long term or short term memory, this is how much he can hold in his brain at one time. Average is 7 - an average person can keep 7 separate pieces of information in his brain at one time. A chess player can keep much more!
A person who obtained a concussion usually loses this type of memory, so the following things are difficult:
  1. Math beyond 3rd grade, in which the child now needs instant access to math facts, concepts and the steps. Separately, the child can do it all. All at the same time, he can do one or two examples, but that's it.
  2. Writing is so difficult because they have to remember what they are writing, spelling, grammar, punctuation and capitalization all at the same time. Something has to give!
This type of child can hold it together for a short period of time, but not for long. So, you do that exercise you were describing until he stops, then immediately go to something else that is easy and fun for him. It's not fun to have to work on that - I know, because I used to have this issue myself! Do the same exercise or a similar one the next day, and every day - each time followed by something fun and easy. When his working memory opens up, he will be able to do amazing things!
Follow up from coach: 
That's actually what I've been doing with him- thankful my instincts were right.  I am actually timing him to monitor how long he can do certain exercises. And he totally is open to discussing and telling me when his "brain shuts off" as he says.  
I have him 1.5 hours-a day for 5 days a week for 6 weeks. He's so much fun! You described his struggles perfectly by the way!
One more follow up two months later:
The rest of the story....... He has gone from 45 seconds of concentration/working memory to over 10 minutes with increased confidence!



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