Tips to Stay on Track! Ways to build your memory skills

Are you or a loved one having a difficult time Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 1.24.27 PMremembering important items, facts, or events? Here are some helpful hints to help you stay on task, stay organized and keep your memory skills sharp!

The most common cause of memory loss is acquired brain injury (TBI) such as stroke or head injury. It is important to note that children with learning disabilities may also experience difficulties with short-term and long-term memory. These tips may also help children to stay on track and focused in school! Unfortunately, there is no cure for memory loss but there are a number of ways of coping and making life easier.

  1. Make the most of your memory by adapting to your environment
  2. Use your techniques and strategies

There are 3 stages of memory…

1) Stage 1: Encoding or input – GETTING information in

  • pay attention
  • process information
  • give it meaning
  1. Stage 2: Storage- KEEPING information in.

3) Stage 3: Retrieval – Recalling information previously encoded and stored

  • Pay attention!
    Most memory problems are due to lack of attention.
  • Making a conscious decision to pay attention is the first important step toward improving memory skills.
  • Simple techniques can help you process information so it stands a better chance of making it to storage for retrieval.

Internal Memory Strategies:

-Visualization: Make a mental picture of information.

-Association: Mentally associate new information wit
h something familiar to you. (Ex. Paul moved to Tulip Lane. I’ll remember this because my favorite flower is a Tulip).

-Chunking: Group digits of numbers into chunks (ex. 477-802-976) or break sentences down by ideas (ex. Speech therapy/will be at 4:00/instead of 12:00/because I have a meeting).

-Chaining: Recall 3-4 words by linking them together in a sentence. (ex. words: Eggs, Thursday, Water, Today- I will get eggs and water today, not on Thursday).

External Memory Strategies:

-Note Taking: Take important notes down on a notepad, iPad, computer, phone, or appointment card. Don’t be afraid to write important information down in one spot! These notes will serve as friendly reminders.

-Tape Recording: If someone is giving information in length at a lecture, or is giving important directions or instructions, use your phone, iPad, or computer to record.

-Daily Planner: A daily planner will help you to write down appointments and events in an organized way. Don’t be afraid to color code! (ex. Purple highlight: doctor’s appointment, yellow highlight-plans with friends).

-Phone/watch Alarms: Use these alerts to remind you to take medication or to check your daily schedule.


 Stay organized:

  • Improving memory requires awareness of the possib
    ility of forgetting and then making a conscious effort to use some type of memory tool.

    • Experiment with a variety of techniques and find what works for you. And more importantly, have fun!

Follow a set routine:

  • Helps reduce demands put on memory
  • Changes in routine may cause confusion
  • Family plays an important role in maintaining routines and preventing confusion

Fun Facts!

  • Most short-term memories only last 20 to 30 seconds.
  • The sense of smell can help evoke powerful and vivid memories.
  • Research has found that being tested on material can improve your recall of the information.

Alexis Granger M.A. CF-SLP TSSLD


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