Working memory updating
He often fails to follow instructions such as ‘Put your sheets on the green table, arrow cards in the packet, put your pencil away and come and sit on the carpet’; typically, he will complete the first part of the instruction and proceed no further.
He also makes errors in activities that involve remembering even small amounts of information at the same time as processing other material.
The child is therefore forced either to guess at this point (a strategy that is likely to lead to errors) or to abandon the task before its completion.
Activity failures such as these represent missed learning opportunities for the child, and the more frequent they are, the more that learning will be delayed.
Often he loses his place in complex tasks, making errors such as skipping important steps or repeating them.
Nathan’s teacher says that he has a short attention span, and is easily distracted.
Processes involved in building, maintaining, and updating arbitrary bindings may constitute the common working memory ability underlying performance on reasoning, complex span, and updating tasks.There is also a substantial variation in working memory capacity between individuals. Working memory deficits in children with low achievements in the national curriculum at seven years of age. Those with poor capacities will therefore struggle to meet the heavy working memory demands of many situations, of which the classroom is a prime example. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 70, 177–194. How to best measure working memory capacity is an issue of ongoing debate.
Besides established complex span tasks, which combine short-term memory demands with generally unrelated secondary tasks, there exists a set of paradigms characterized by continuous and simultaneous updating of several items in working memory, such as the n-back, memory updating, or alpha span tasks.
However, it should be noted that the majority of children with the combined subtype of ADHD – the most commonly diagnosed category in the UK – do have working memory problems and the associated cognitive problems of the children described here (Holmes, Gathercole, Place et al., 2008).