Rachel (7 years 10 months)

Rachel’s performance on Lucid Recall is shown in Figure 9. Overall her results indicate she has below average working memory. An inspection of Rachel’s scores indicates satisfactory performance on the word recall test, so she has no problems with remembering and recalling sequences of verbal information. However, Rachel’s performance on the pattern recall task was below average, and her performance on the counting recall task was poor. This profile of scores is typical of some children with special educational needs, who perform more poorly than age matched controls on measures of the visuo-spatial sketchpad and central executive components of working memory. Of particular concern is Rachel’s score on the counting recall task, which indicates she has severe difficulties with coping with simultaneous processing and storage demands. Her working memory processing speed is also well below average. These results indicate that Rachel is likely to make slow progress with acquiring knowledge and skills in areas such as literacy and mathematics, and without appropriate intervention is at risk of poor educational attainment.

Overall Rachel’s results lead to several recommendations. Firstly, it is important that Rachel’s teachers recognise that she has a poor working memory, and that her difficulties are not a result of other problems such as inattentiveness. Teachers can then try to evaluate the working memory load of classroom activities, and where possible reduce working memory demands (see Section 4.2). Intervention work should focus on simultaneous processing and storage demands. For example, Rachel will benefit from some training related to using visual aids, so that they can be effectively used to reduce the amount of information that needs to be remembered during on-going processing tasks. It would also be useful for a teacher or teaching assistant to work closely with Rachel to encourage her to develop strategies for dealing with her poor working memory, including note taking. It is also important to reiterate to Rachel that it is OK to ask for help when it is needed. Finally, Rachel’s teachers may also want to suggest some kind of working memory training (see Section 4.3). This would be likely to lead to some improvements in working memory. Although at the moment the longterm consequences of working memory training are unknown, training should at least improve Rachel’s confidence and beliefs in her ability to deal with complex processing and storage tasks.


Figure 9. Lucid Recall results for Rachel (age 7:10).