How to Help Your ADHD Child to Deal with Short-Term Memory Problems

Short-term memory problems, over and above concentration difficulties, often improve with the use of medication. However, if such difficulties persist despite the child being on medication, it may sometimes indicate that liaison by the parent or teacher with the child’s physician for further advice about fine-tuning the medication is necessary.

Appropriate educational strategies should also be geared to whether a child responds better using vision or hearing. Some children with ADHD have associated persistent auditory processing difficulties and they will be best presented with visual materials. Most ADHD pupils are visual and kinaesthetic learners – they learn best by seeing and doing.

ADHD Child  Memory Problems

Many of the ideas for improving short-term and working memory are similar to those outlined previously for improving attention and concentration. They include:

  • Pre-teach the general outline of new information and guide the pupil’s attention to listen for important points before teaching the rest of the lesson.
  • Repeat instructions or new information so that the pupil can increase the amount of information captured.
  • Establish eye contact with the pupil prior to giving essential instructions or new material – this will help to ensure that he is ready to listen carefully.
  • Consider altering the rate of presentation of new material as the pupil may need additional processing time or more time to rehearse the information.
  • Where possible, break the tasks or information down into small steps or chunks.

Take a break

The pupil with ADHD’s focus is likely to fade more quickly than his peers’. Changing tasks more frequently can alleviate some of the drain on sustained working memory.

A child with difficulties sustaining working memory often needs frequent short breaks. Breaks typically need only be one or two minutes in duration. Observing when the pupil’s ability to focus begins to wane will help determine the optimal time for a break. Breaks are best taken with a motor activity or a relaxing activity – the child might walk to the pencil sharpener, run a short errand, get a drink or simply bring his work to show you.

Get the pupil to check in with you on a regular basis. This can be an effective method of providing a break with motor activity and an opportunity for reinforcement. The child might be asked to complete only a few problems of a set or a few lines of a paragraph before bringing his work to you for review.

Try to avoid lengthy tasks, particularly those that the pupil sees as tedious or monotonous. Intersperse them with more frequent breaks or other, more engaging tasks. The pupil might be rewarded with a more stimulating activity, such as computer instruction time, for completing the more tedious task.

Recognize that competing information can have quite a negative impact on working memory. It is therefore important to reduce distractions in the environment that can tax or disrupt sustained working memory. Think about your seating plan and avoid seating the child near a noisy corridor or window and keep him away from the more distracting children in the classroom. You could consider the use of headphones to minimize distractions.

Try to seat the child with ADHD near you so that there is increased supervision and a greater opportunity to observe when he is adequately focused and when he is tiring, and redirection or breaks can be more easily implemented.

Filed Under: Lifestyle & Personality


About the Author: Alan Kennon lives a very happy life with two kids and a lovely wife. He likes to share his life time experiences with others about how they can improve their lifestyle and personality.

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