The Relationship Among Children's Learning Disabilities, Working Memory, and Problem Behaviours in a Classroom Setting: Three Case Studies

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Over 2.4 million children in the public school system are diagnosed with a learning disability, including dyslexia and developmental dyscalculia. Previous research has shown that some teachers are unaware of the importance of working memory in a student's academic and social realm and what working memory deficits may look like in the classroom. The relationship between learning disabilities, working memory, and behaviour problems were examined with tailored recommendations for improvement to provide insight for classroom educators. Three children from the United Kingdom, all of whom were 8 years old and presented with symptoms of learning disorders and low working memory profiles, were selected for case studies. Measures of working memory, behaviour, and academic attainment were included. Results from their standardised assessments indicated that each child had below average working memory, as well as low scores in arithmetic, writing and spelling skills. Each child also exhibited some type of behavioural problem, such as inattention or hyperactivity. Implications of the impact of their working memory profile on their academic outcomes and behaviour are discussed. Recommendations, such as Response to Intervention (RTI), are included for classroom educators to bridge the gap between research and practice.