Category Archives: Intelligence Testing

Ways to Improve Working Memory

brain-healthWHAT IS WORKING MEMORY?

Jonidas, Lacey, and Nee (2005) define working memory as a system that can store a small amount of information briefly, keeping that information quickly accessible and available for transformation by rules and strategies, while updating it frequently.

This means working memory is a mental control process that involves higher order thinking tasks, which require attention and concentration.

Schwean and Saklofske (2005) reviewed multiple studies of children and adolescents diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Learning Disability.  Researchers found that children with these diagnoses tended to have lower working memory index scores.

HOW IS IT MEASURED?

Working memory is typically assessed by standardized assessments.  Wechsler intelligence tests have reigned for years as the “go to” intelligence assessment.  The Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children (WISC) measures working memory via the Working Memory Index.  The Working Memory Index measures attention, concentration, and working memory.

WHAT DOES A DEFICIT IN WORKING MEMORY MEAN?

Adults and teenagers with serious working memory deficits, who are employed, may have considerable difficulties at work.  A weakness in working memory may make the processing of complex information more time consuming and tax mental energies more quickly compared to co-workers.  This may contribute to more frequent errors on a variety of job-related tasks that require sustained attention and concentration.  Auditory working memory deficits may make the tasks of taking notes and attending to lectures more difficult.

ARE THERE WAYS TO IMPROVE WORKING MEMORY?

  • Yoga.  Research has shown that a combination of yoga postures and supine rest (meditation) improved memory scores and decreased state anxiety scores (Subramanya & Telles, 2009).
  • Mindfulness.  Executive Functioning is improved by mindfulness.  Executive functioning is Inhibiting irrelevant information, updating working memory, and controlling attention.  Therefore, paying attention on purpose can improve all aspects of executive functioning, which, in turn, enhances working memory (Diamond and Lee, 2011).
  • Memory Games.  Games such as Sudoku and crosswords may help with memory.  Lumosity, an online brain training game, is a free brain training regimen that has been researched by Harvard and Stanford Universities (Finn & McDonald, 2011).
  • Eat Super Foods.  Fruits and vegetables protect the brain from free radicals.  It’s important to reduce meat and sugar in the diet as they cause inflammation. The best foods to promote brain health are those rich in omega 3’s and B12 such as fish (wild salmon) and avocado.
References

Diamond, A., & Lee, K. (2011). Interventions shown to aid executive function development in children 4 to 12 years old. Science, 333, 959 –964.

Finn M, & McDonald S. (2011). Computerised cognitive training for older persons with mild cognitive impairment: A pilot study using a randomized controlled trial design. Brain Impairment, 12(3), 187–199. doi: 10.1375/brim.12.3.187.

Jonidas, J., Lacey, S.C., & Nee, D.E. (2005).  Process of working memory in mind and brain. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14, 2-5

Schwean, V. L., &  Saklofske, D.H. (2005). Assessment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with the WISC-IV. In A. Prifitera, D.H. Saklofske, & L.G. Weiss (Eds.), WISC-IV Clinical Use and Interpretation: Scientist-Practitioner Perspectives (pp. 235-280). San Diego, CA: Elsevier

Subramanya, P., Telles, S. (2009). Effect of two yoga based relaxation techniques on memory scores and state anxiety.  BioPsychoSocial Medicine

 

 

Special Education Tips for Parents

Group Of Children Playing In Park

Is your child struggling academically, but the school has refused to evaluate for special services? Ummm….They can’t do that! The school system is not always forthright in letting parents know their parental rights when it comes to their child’s education.  Below are a few basic tips to help your child obtain the evaluation or services they need as quickly as possible.

  • Put everything in writing. When attending intervention meetings make sure all requests and concerns are added to the meeting notes.   When requesting an evaluation put the request in writing to the principal and make sure to date the letter.
  • Ask for and read the parent’s rights booklet. Everything a parent needs to know is listed in this booklet.
  • Ask for a draft of the plan a week in advance of the meeting. Review the plan, revise, and list concerns with the plan before meeting with the school team.
  • Do not sign anything at the meeting. If a draft of an intervention plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is proposed at a meeting take the draft home and really look at it to make sure you agree with all that is stated. Do not let the school team pressure you into signing something at the meeting you are unsure. This is your child’s education!
  • Hire an advocate. If you feel as if you are being bullied by the school system by all means hire an advocate as soon as possible. Advocates are well versed in special education law and love litigious meetings. Reduce your stress by letting them negotiate for you.

If the educational jargon in the parent’s rights booklet is difficult to decode or you need an advocate call us at 913-660-8219. We love attending meetings and revising IEPs. Mindful Child Aerial Yoga offers one free consult. Also, the team at Mindful Child Aerial Yoga just so happens to specialize in advocacy services and special education assessments.

The Benefits of Intelligence Testing

IQ Intelligence Quotient Test Score Numbers Level

HOW DID IT BEGIN?

Intelligence testing began in the 1900s to identify children who needed specialized assistance with school. During World War I intelligence tests known as the Army Alpha and Beta tests were used to determine which soldiers were more suited for leadership positions. In 1955, American psychologist, David Wechsler, developed a series of intelligence tests to test preschool children, school age children, and adults. Wechsler’s intelligence tests are widely used today to determine learning disabilities and gifted ability.

WHAT IS INTELLIGENCE TESTING?

Intelligence testing is a bit like a brainteaser. The individual taking the test is asked to translate a code using a key, find missing objects in pictures, and manipulate blocks to replicate abstract designs. Sounds fun, right?

SHOULD I HAVE MY CHILD TESTED?

If your child is struggling academically or has been identified as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder an IQ test yields significant information that can aide the school in determining individualized modifications and accommodations. IQ testing is a necessary component of a comprehensive evaluation, not because of the score it provides, but the wealth of information it delivers concerning the child’s cognitive processing ability or problem-solving skills. Since all children are unique, understanding how they solve problems is fundamental to determining how to educate them. Children do not all learn the same way. Some children require visual support, others need auditory support, and a growing number of children necessitate extended time or simple directions. Finally, all children need movement breaks to varying degrees, but that is a discussion for another post…

 

 

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