How Weak Cognitive Skills Impact Learning
At the root of most learning disabilities like dyslexia, ADD and ADHD is a significant deficit in one or more cognitive skill areas. The impact of deficits vary, but all share the common result of creating challenges with academic learning.
Attention enables a student to stay on task for a sustained period of time, continue working in the presence of distractions, and handle more than one task at a time. Attention deficits impact all academic areas.
Working Memory enables a student to retain information for a short time while using or processing it. Inability to retain information long enough to handle it correctly impacts learning ability.
Long-Term Memory is the ability to store information and retrieve it at will for later use. It is an essential skill across all academic disciplines.
Processing Speed is the rate at which the brain processes information. Slow processing speed may result in losing information held in working memory before it can be utilized.
Visual Processing is the ability to comprehend, analyze, and think in visual images. It involves visual discrimination which is seeing the differences in color, shape, size, and distance of objects, and visualization, the ability to create mental images. Weakness in this area makes academic subjects, which entail seeing a concept or object in one’s mind, particularly difficult.
Auditory Processing is the ability to perceive, analyze and comprehend what is heard.It is an essential underlying skill in learning to read and spell. It includes auditory discrimination, the ability to hear the subtle differences between sounds and phonemic awareness the ability to blend, segment, and manipulate sounds within a word. Weak auditory processing skills usually result in profound difficulty with reading and spelling.
Logic and Reasoning skills are used to reason, prioritize and plan. When they are weak, problem solving, math, and comprehension will be difficult.