WAYS TO IMPROVE AUDITORY SEQUENTIAL MEMORY

Many children with a history of late-speaking and early speech and language difficulties approach secondary school age with adequate levels of speech and understanding but residual problems which perhaps only they, their parents and teachers can detect. It is not uncommon for reading and writing difficulties to persist after speech problems have; alongside general difficulties with memory and recall.

By this stage, memory span is unfortunately unlikely to improve significantly. But if the children and those around them understand and attempt to work, much can be done to minimise the impact of a poor memory on day to day life.

Use the child’s name before giving an instruction and make sure the child is looking at you before you talk. Let the child know when you are about to give an instruction, either verbally or eg: use a signal such as a bell in class. Use simple language.  Allow the child time to respond. Simplify the instruction by shortening it rather than rewording it. Do not rephrase if the child does not understand. Minimise the number of key points that the child has to remember.  Key points can be noted down using pictures or words in an easily visible place, e.g. on the white board. Visual clues can help children to remember, e.g. drawing a daily or weekly timetable and the use of maps and diagrams to explain things. A school timetable on the bedroom door will help your child remember school equipment. Encourage the child to carry a notebook and pen to jot things down as they crop up, e.g. homework tasks, invitations Ensure that all instructions are absolutely specific and given in the order that you expect them to be carried out.   Help your child to understand and accept their remembering difficulty.  Encourage them to say:  “I’m not very good at remembering, could you write it down for me please”. Encourage your child to repeat an instruction aloud and then follow the instruction you gave.  Eventually they can rehearse the instructions silently.

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