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Working Memory, an Executive Functioning Skills

Updated: Jul 26, 2023


Yes, working memory is considered an executive functioning skill. Executive functions refer to a set of cognitive processes that help us manage and regulate our thoughts, actions, and behaviors to achieve specific goals. Working memory is one of the core components of executive functioning and plays a crucial role in various aspects of daily life, especially tasks that require active mental processing.


Working memory deficits are commonly observed in children with various learning and developmental disabilities. These deficits can significantly impact a child's academic performance and daily functioning. Some of the conditions where working memory issues are frequently seen include:

· Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Children with ADHD often struggle with working memory, making it challenging for them to focus on tasks, follow instructions, and remember information.

· Specific learning disabilities (SLD): Working memory deficits can be present in children with specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia. Difficulties in working memory can affect reading comprehension, math problem-solving, and written expression.

· Autism spectrum disorder (ASD): Many children with ASD experience working memory difficulties, which can impact their ability to understand social cues, follow conversations, and switch between tasks.

· Language disorders: Children with language disorders may have trouble holding and processing auditory information in their working memory, leading to difficulties in understanding and producing language.

· Intellectual disabilities: Working memory deficits can be associated with various levels of intellectual disabilities, affecting a child's ability to learn and retain new information.

· Executive functioning disorders: Executive functioning issues, including working memory deficits, can be a part of various disorders affecting executive functions in children.


Support and interventions are crucial for children with working memory deficits. Teachers, parents, and professionals can implement strategies to accommodate the child's needs and help them cope with challenges:

· Simplify instructions and tasks: Break tasks into smaller, manageable steps to reduce the working memory load.

· Use visual aids: Visual cues and graphic organizers can aid in retaining and organizing information.

· Repetition and practice: Frequent repetition of essential information can reinforce memory.

· Memory aids: Encourage the use of memory aids like sticky notes, checklists, or digital tools.

· Mindfulness techniques: Practices that improve attention and focus can indirectly support working memory.

· Working memory training: Certain cognitive training programs may help improve working memory abilities over time.


It's essential to recognize that every child's needs are unique, and personalized support and interventions can make a significant difference in helping children with working memory difficulties reach their full potential. Early identification and appropriate assistance are vital for mitigating the impact of working memory deficits on a child's development and learning.


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