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Suggested Strategies to Address Learning Weaknesses of Students with Spina Bifida, Memory -- SHNIC Educators Information

Students with spina bifida often have trouble remembering things that they see or hear. They may understand it at the time, but have difficulty remembering it later, so they may have to learn it over and over. It is especially difficult if the student is doing one thing (i.e., copying an assignment from the board) and the teacher is talking about something else (i.e., cleaning up materials for the end of class). There are different types of memory, such as visual (seeing) memory, auditory (hearing) memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. It is important to know what type of memory difficulty each student has. The following suggestions may be helpful when working with a student with spina bifida who has memory difficulties.

  • Use reminders or prompts, such as a memory journal, calendar, homework sheet or student planner. A calculator will also come in handy in math class.
  • Pair things (associate) that need to be remembered together. Pairing new information with previously learned information may aid retention.
  • Provide watches with alarms to remind students of routine care, such as pressure relief, catheterization and medications.
  • Allow use of a tape recorder.
  • Allow verbal rehearsal (repeating things over and over, such as spelling words).
  • Help the student visualize (think of mental pictures that will help recall) new information.
  • Present information using a variety of modalities (i.e., visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic).
  • Instruct the student in the use of mnemonic or associative devices or "chunking".
  • Provide written lists of materials needed or tasks that need to be completed.
  • Teach note taking, outlining and summarization skills.

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