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Help kids with short-term memory issues not to fall behind

Date: April 14th, 2015
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: We have all had students with short-term memory issues. They have really good long-term memory, but the short-term isn’t there until the next day. They raise their hand to answer a question that you had asked yesterday.

That’s just how they operate.

These are kids on the autistic spectrum who can remember details from years ago, but not what you just said 30 minutes ago. They are constantly living a few steps behind because they haven’t quite been able to stick in their mind what they’re learning.

Our brain is like a Velcro ball. If something is thrown into our mind without the other side of the Velcro being there, then where does the information go?

We don’t know!

So I always say to these kids, “Think about where you’re going to stick this information. Where does it make sense to stick it? Where are you going to file this information in your brain? What are you going to attach it to?”

Now, if they say to me, “I don’t have anything in there to attach this new information to,” then I’ve got to give them something. So, I’ll tell them, “Ok. Pull from the math from yesterday, when we talked about factoring. Put it there. Stick it there.”

Believe it or not, that little piece of information can prevent the student from blowing up when they see that math the next time. Seems simple, but it works.