What Is the Connection between Memory and Learning Disability?

S. Ejim

The connection between memory and learning disability lies in the fact that memory plays a key role in the ability of an individual to store and retrieve information. This is true for short-term memory, long-term memory and rote memory. Short-term memory, which generally lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes, helps a person remember something that he or she has just learned. Long-term memory helps a person remember something that he or she learned previously, and rote memory allows a person to remember simple, repetitive facts or skills out of habit. When any one of these types of memory is not working properly, it can lead to a learning disability.

A learning disability may make it difficult for a child to learn through repetition.
A learning disability may make it difficult for a child to learn through repetition.

Short-term memory and learning disability are related mainly because short-term memory allows a person to remember information that he or she has just heard, which makes it possible for the person to apply the information from the short-term memory to solving the problem at hand. For instance, if the individual is learning how to divide numbers, he or she needs short-term memory to retain information about the different steps that are necessary to arrive at the answer. When the short-term memory is not functioning as it should, this person will find it hard to remember the information about the steps to follow.

Someone with a rote memory disability might not remember how to recite letters and numbers.
Someone with a rote memory disability might not remember how to recite letters and numbers.

Long-term memory and learning disability are connected in the sense that information stored in the long-term memory can be retrieved in the future. This type of memory is necessary for a person to remember things that were learned in the past with the aim of applying such knowledge to the present situation. For instance, a person in a classroom might be asked a question relating to something that had been taught repeatedly in the past. If the person's long-term memory is faulty, he or she will find it difficult to recall the information. This inadequacy will affect the ability of such a person to learn.

Perceived learning disabilities in some children may be due to disinterest in the material.
Perceived learning disabilities in some children may be due to disinterest in the material.

Rote memory is a related type of memory that is related to a person's ability to learn and recall information in a habitual manner. This type of memory is needed to remember things that should come without thinking too much about them. Instances of where such a memory is related to learning are in such things as reciting numbers and the letters of the alphabet. This type of memory is also useful for remembering things such as spelling and the use of punctuation when writing or for remembering multiplication tables. Rote memory and learning disability are related because a person whose rote memory is not working will not easily remember things that should not require too much thought.

Children with autism and learning disabilites may have difficulty memorizing words or numbers.
Children with autism and learning disabilites may have difficulty memorizing words or numbers.

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