Ideas to enhance short term memory - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 08-21-2013, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone,

I haven't posted in a while but I am back with a question none of my friends have much experience with, and neither do I though I work with people doing physical rehab, this is a little out of my league. My 12 year old DD has a really hard time remembering pretty basic things, something I had hoped she would grow out of when she got a little more mature, but no such luck. She is almost 13 and starting 7th grade at a new school, with a lot of new things to learn, so this year will be a tough one for everyone involved, lol. The main issue is her phone. The agreement was that she would always know where her phone is and keep it charged, and she is not holding up her end of the bargain, as I figured would happen, hence the hesitation to get her one in the first place. But now, we are under contract and I want her to have a phone to keep in touch with friends. She has left her phone in people's cars at least a dozen times and rarely remembers to take it with her or charge it. Like I said, we are under contract through January, so I would like to treat the next few months as a "probationary period" to decide whether or not she gets to keep it.

Does anyone know of any games or apps that might help a child her age? She is a little old for "Memory" but something like that might work. I have tried the thing where you give them three words to remember and then ask them what they are an hour later, but she hasn't done too well and is more of a visual learner, so something with pictures might be better.

I don't know, I have already accepted the fact that she will lose every jacket we buy her, but the phone is a tough one. I thought not having a phone would be incentive enough to keep track of it but I think she needs a little more help. Thanks!
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#2 of 12 Old 08-22-2013, 03:07 PM
 
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To prevent losing items, I think it's helpful to use a standard routine. For example, if she uses the phone, she needs to return it immediately to the same place so she isn't putting it down and walking away. Maybe that place is a specific pocket in her jeans or her backpack or shoulder bag. If it's in a bag, then she needs to make it a habit to carry the same bag all the time, everywhere.  

 

Getting her to repeat a silent checklist to herself every time she moves from one activity to the next may help too. "jacket? wallet?  phone? backpack? lunchbag? (or whatever she typically carries). Good to go". The answer to some of the items may be "don't need it" but at least she will be stopping to think about them before she leaves. You can talk it over with her, decide what needs to be on her checklist and come up with a catchy acronym.

 

You may have to drill her with this over and over again until it's a habit. It will feel like you are nagging a lot, so I'd discuss it with her and get some buy in on the basis that you are helping her to develop a memory aid that will make her life easier in the long run.  

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#3 of 12 Old 08-27-2013, 12:49 PM
 
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Yup i agree. Creating a habit is a good idea. It is driving dd batty. 

 

She lost her phone. Found it. Lost it again. I dont know what to say. 

 

However it is part of her growing up. My plan of action is to give her a cheap phone and be prepared to replace it. She needs to have a phone. There is no way around that. 

 

In the meantime i will help her keep her phone. But i have to also accept it is part of her personality. And not to punish her just coz she is losing it. I find these years so full of stress. 


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#4 of 12 Old 08-27-2013, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have tried to get her in the habit of carrying a purse, because it will be an easier transition once she has money (or even car keys, I shudder to think) to keep track of, but she is obsessed with "matching" and won't carry one if it doesn't match her outfit (she has 6 purses, which is plenty)... Sigh. Anyway, I have tried reminding her but she just sees it as nagging and she's already defensive enough so it's not something I want to make an issue of. I have already told her I won't buy her another one if she loses it, and it is a cheap phone, I am surprised she's kept up with it this long. My main concern is that her short term memory is not improving at all, and I don't know if she will be able to keep up once she gets to high school... Even with an agenda to write her homework in, school has barely started and she's already doing homework she forgot about on the way to school. I just can't imagine that she will be successful on her own when she goes to college if she doesn't start working on this now. She is very smart and doing 9th grade math, so I know the potential is there, I just hate seeing her get in trouble or losing points because she is so forgetful. I have brought this up with her doctor but all he said was to get her on ADD meds, which is insane because she does fine in school and can concentrate on things for hours at a time, she is the opposite of both ADD diagnoses besides the forgetfulness.

I guess I will post this in the special needs forum and see if I get any ideas there...
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#5 of 12 Old 08-27-2013, 01:49 PM
 
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Hi onyxfire, I am a mama to two special needs kids and just happened to come across your post. I suggest you start here:

 

http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/executive-function-disorders/what-is-working-memory-why-does-matter

 

I love this website and I think it will not only answer a lot of questions for you but also bring up some things that you might not have even considered.
 


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#6 of 12 Old 08-27-2013, 01:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by onyxfire View Post

My main concern is that her short term memory is not improving at all, and I don't know if she will be able to keep up once she gets to high school... Even with an agenda to write her homework in, school has barely started and she's already doing homework she forgot about on the way to school. I just can't imagine that she will be successful on her own when she goes to college if she doesn't start working on this now. She is very smart and doing 9th grade math, so I know the potential is there, I just hate seeing her get in trouble or losing points because she is so forgetful. I have brought this up with her doctor but all he said was to get her on ADD meds, which is insane because she does fine in school and can concentrate on things for hours at a time, she is the opposite of both ADD diagnoses besides the forgetfulness.

mama kindly i say to you - stop looking at her through your own perspective. Just coz she is smart does not mean she has great executive skills. In fact it IS a good reason to NOT have good executive skills as most smart kids - gifted kids - are very asynchronous. 

 

Honestly i think you are demanding a lot. 

 

Have you heard of silent ADD amongst girls? 

 

A good test is to give her coffee/coffee beans and see if it helps her with her memory.

 

Please understand she is not doing this purposely. She is trying but failing. You have to support her on this instead of judging her how the world is judging her. She is not being irresponsible. She really IS forgetful. Its either hormonal. Its the age for it for sure. Or it could possibly be ADD. Or she could have SPD too. 

 

But something is up. Forget about college now. Dont jump ahead. Let her learn to cope now and she will mature as she grows older. 


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#7 of 12 Old 08-27-2013, 02:05 PM
 
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could the phone be sort of "fixed" to some point inside her purse with a string/leash/piece of elastic band ?

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#8 of 12 Old 08-27-2013, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Pattimomma, thank you for the resources! Much appreciated.

Meemee, I actually work with kids who have ADD/ADHD among other diagnoses and I can tell you without a doubt that she doesn't have it. I am not really sure what you think I am demanding here? I didn't want to get her a phone, she came to ME with the agreement under which I let her get the phone, and even though she can't keep up with it, she still has it. I don't really get how that's being "demanding" or unsupportive. I never indicated she was doing this on purpose. I came here for advice to try and help her, because I know she *cant* help it.

Seriously, there are so many hostile, holier than thou parents on here, I literally can't ask one question without someone attacking me. I am so sick of this "Mommy Wars" BS and this is the exact reason I don't go to PTA meetings. Keep your opinions to yourself if you don't have any actual advice to offer. Go parent your kids. Don't waste your time telling other parents that you know more than they do about their kids you've never met and do something constructive.
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#9 of 12 Old 08-27-2013, 03:25 PM
 
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She is very smart and doing 9th grade math, so I know the potential is there, 

 

this is what i am reacting to. Just coz she is smart you assume her short term memory should be good. THAT concerns me. Because that is far from the truth. 

 

i am actually involved with kids like you. And i am sorry i come across as harsh and unsupportive, but i deal with that attitude all the time working with middle and high school parents. Its one thing to find ways to help.

 

You hoped she would grow out of it by now. WHY?

 

She is only almost 13. You are going to see this for many more years. hormones mess kids up really bad. Your words sound like you would like to see some solution now. 

 

You have way high expectations and expect her to get it at once. That is why olly talked about establishing habits. That is why middle school is about establishing good organization skills so that in high school you can focus on study skills.

 

I think teenagers and toddlers have a lot in common. I have many friends who weren’t good with organization right through middle and high school. They struggled and tried following the rules. Parents and school kept holding them to habits. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. And they finally got it. Not so much in college. But by the time they started work. It all clicked in.

 

For a teen these days you are talking about a probationary period over phone. What? Isnt the phone important for her to keep in touch with friends. Do you expect her to tie up the house phone to talk to her friends? 

 

What i am saying is threatening to take away the phone is not going to solve the issues. 

 

I am glad you work with kids with ADD. I am glad that you are aware of the non typical symptoms of ADD in girls. At least you can rule that out. 

 

I have tried everything with my dd. Cute purse. String. Always keeping it on vibrate so if its lost we can call it and find it. most of the times i make dd think about where she was and go from there. Backtrack and then look under places and in deep ‘holes’ where they disappear. 

 

I hope other mamas will step in and figure out something that worked for them. 


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#10 of 12 Old 08-27-2013, 04:00 PM
 
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My daughter is very similar.  I can tell her several times that xyz has to happen.  She's brilliant, so the logical part of me says she should be able to do the common sense day to day stuff. She has NO executive functioning ability, and while she can agree that she should be able to do things like keep track of a phone, remember everything leaving and coming home, plan for the entire day in terms of the stuff she will need... in a concrete on paper kind of way she is perfectly capable. Day to day life, she is SO not there, and I know she will struggle as she is older. 
We've created a world of routine, written reminders,  an annoying 'nagging' mom, and even more routine.  It helps. But it can't fix the parts of her brain that are not developmentally there yet. I suspect your kid is in a similar place.  She really does understand and wants to do the right thing, but she can't.  Getting on her case about it won't help unless you talk and agree that since she can't remember, you're going to be the reminder her brain isn't giving her.  

I'm sure that my daughter will get it by the time she's 30, and in the meantime, I can only offer support and coping mechanisms. She can do calculus all day long, but remembering to actually take the stuff she needs from one place to another is beyond her.  Gifted kids are often like that, and it's ok. 

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#11 of 12 Old 09-09-2013, 11:32 AM
 
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Hey, onyxfire, I'm sorry I didn't specifically provide you with suggestions for improving memory, which is what you requested. I was reminded elsewhere of a book that might be helpful:  Smart But Scattered by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare. There is also another book, Smart But Scattered Teens. Still not strictly memory development, so it may not be exactly what you were looking for, but possibly helpful. At least, I hope so. They deal with developing executive functioning. Best wishes. 

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#12 of 12 Old 09-12-2013, 06:34 PM
 
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There are "find my phone" apps out there that might help her and you figure out where she left it. Also, there is a new plastic strip that you can attach to things like phones and purses and you can use another electronic device to locate them. Can't remember the name of it, but I'm sure there will be a lot of publicity when it comes out.

 

I was this child - lost everything constantly - and I was humiliated and shamed a lot by my dad for it. I turned out to be a fine and responsible adult and gradually developed various systems for keeping track of stuff. I would have had a really hard time with a cell phone at 12, I think. I wish someone had helped me develop a simple checklist when I left places to help me remember important stuff (keys, purse, phone - check). Maybe that would help your daughter, along with the app. good luck.

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