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Memory or learning difficulties

Memory is the ability to retain and retrieve information. Memory retained indefinitely such as your name, where you work or how to ride a bike is termed long-term memory. Working memory is the ability to hold on to information for a short while as you process and integrate it with new information being received. This includes remembering the beginning of a sentence when you reach its end or remembering numbers while performing simple math. Difficulties with learning are usually associated with difficulties in working memory. Difficulties with working memory may be present by itself or as a feature in a wide variety of specific learning difficulties which may include:

  • Dyslexia: Affects reading and language processing to various degrees
  • Dyscalculia: Problems with numbers, mathematical calculations and telling time
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADHD): Difficulties with paying attention and focusing
  • Dysgraphia: Problems with the formation of alphabets
  • Aphasia: Difficulty with the use of language to understand other’s speech, comprehend while reading and expressing themselves with the right words

Memory or learning difficulties are first identified in school, when your child may have difficulty with reading, writing, speech or math. If your child is suspected of having a learning disorder, it is necessary that he or she be evaluated. A complete physical, neurological and psychological evaluation is usually performed to identify any underlying condition or emotional cause.

Your child may need special education services which compensate for his or her limitations and focus on alternate teaching methods that do not strain the memory. Your therapist will use techniques to improve working memory, focus and attention, and teach your child to develop coping skills. Treatment in the form of therapy or medication is provided for feelings of low-esteem or frustration experienced as a result of the learning disorder. A multidisciplinary approach with the aid of a speech and language pathologist is helpful.

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