Ways to enhance memory in children with ASD
Rose Akinsehinwa June 2017
Academic success can be achieved when a good memory is in play. For children on the spectrum and even for regular children, working towards building a strong memory is important as children easily forget due to the many things competing for their attention all at the same. Some easy steps to helping children have a good memory for learning include:
- Make learning fun and memorable: Ensure the environment is relaxed and happy. If you are able to, ensure the child is in a good mood and not having any physical or mental stress of any kind. Make the child relive him/herself in the bathroom to minimize toilet break interruptions. If your child has sensory issues set the place right, things like right levels of lights, sounds or temperature and make the room or place conducive for learning. Make the child comfortable by creating an atmosphere that stimulates learning.
- Use visuals: Ever wondered why a child can narrate a cartoon or movie he watched days and months after he has watched it? Having a picture with an activity imprinted in the memory makes it easy to remember. Parents and teachers need to be creative, develop and use learning aids like pictures and tangible objects incorporated in the learning process. Inculcate memorable activities during the learning process.
- DTT: Discrete Trial Training (teaching) is a technique used in teaching children on the spectrum. It is giving information in small ‘bite size’ steps that eventually builds up to the entire lesson you want to teach. Taking lessons one step at a time helps in keeping learning in memory easier as the child gets to master one step before moving to the next.
- Feedback from child: a child will be able to tell you what he has learnt only when they understand. Saying it helps him/her to keep it in memory. Make the child memorize by telling you all he has learnt.
- Active reading: Regular reading of books like a story book with picture illustrations will help a child build a good memory.
- Games: There are a lot of games that are targeted towards developing a good memory. Games that juggle the memory are available and can be used as re-enforcers. The child will be building memory while having fun. Games will also help children with ADD/ADHD develop better concentration levels.
- Use all senses: Make learning fun by including all the senses. Using tangible for feel, smell, visual, audio and where possible taste will make the learning more memorable than only words. Some teachers have turned lessons to songs as songs are easier to catch on than words.
All children are capable of learning. It’s the teaching methods that need to be reviewed. A strong memory is also a function of a delightful experience with a teacher.