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Let’s talk learning difficulties. Dyslexia and memory

Togo - CHRONIQUE - Autres
iciLome | | Commenter

One of the major difficulties of dyslexic individuals rests on their inability to remember what is just said to them. Often, simple instructions or sentences have to be repeated several times before they can comprehend them. Therefore, it is important to know that their tendency to be forgetful is not deliberate, but rather this is caused by their weak memory skills. Before further elaboration, let us understand what is memory.

Human memory is the ability by which the brain stores, manipulates and remembers information. There are 3 main types of memories: short term memory, working memory and long term memory.

Short term memory
Short term memory is the ability of the mind to hold a limited amount of information for a short period of time. It is believed that 7 or less items can be stored for 10 to 15 seconds in the short term memory.

Working memory
This type of memory allows us to hold information in mind and mentally proceed with the manipulation required; also, it helps us recall information from long term memory. For examples:

1- If you are trying to add 68 and 27 without using a pen and paper or a calculator, you would need to decide the strategy to use and the steps to use in order to come to the correct sum (95); you can even decide to check your answer by subtracting one of the initial numbers from the total sum (95-68) to see if you can get 27... The answer can be kept for a short or longer time in the long term memory and be recalled when needed. Without the working memory, all the steps described will not be possible.

2- If you are having a discussion with a friend, it is in the working memory that you decide on keeping or discarding some of the matters you have been talking about.

Long term memory
This type of memory helps us to store information over a long period of time, sometime for a lifetime.

The link between the three memories and dyslexia.
An effective connection between the short term, working and long term memories is crucial in order to receive, process, store and retrieve information. For example, when the information is given, it is first kept in the short term memory for few seconds, then passed into the working memory for manipulation; stored in long term and recalled when required.

With regards to dyslexic individuals, they have difficulty in keeping information in the short term memory which means that the first stage of the process of remembering information is faulty which in turn impacts on the entire process.

If a dyslexic person is given some instructions verbally, often, he/she might not be able to hold it in his/her short term memory long enough to pass it to the working memory for manipulation meaning that the long term memory would not be able to store any information. This is the reason why, the majority of dyslexic individuals are often forgetful and request that instructions or messages are repeated to them several times. In case those individuals are too afraid to ask for repetitions, they just pretend they have understood what was requested from them and perform actions/acts/tasks different from what was expected from them and pay for the consequences.

So, the main intention of this article is to make people aware of the fact that when they are providing verbal information to someone and that person seems to be asking for repetitions of the instructions, such person might have issues with short-term memory or/and working memory; hence he/she may not be pretending or deliberately trying to annoy. So, patience, understanding and support should be given rather than insults, abuse, and belittlement.

Delali Idrissou, Dyslexia Specialist
MA Inclusive Education, MA FE Practitioner
Postg SpLD Dyslexia - AMBDA
Dip. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Dip. Adult Numeracy
Member of PATOSS
Member of Institute for Learning (MIfL) - QTLS
[email protected]

Let’s talk learning difficulties. Dyslexia and memory
Let's talk learning difficulties. Dyslexia and memory

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