Education Update August 2019

1st August 2019


This month's theme is 'memory' with a focus on recalling what a child has learned in school so it is transferred to their long-term memory.

After a long school year, many children with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus are fatigued and need time to rest and recover during the summer holidays. Fatigue, arising from the sheer effort of maintaining a good learning pace in the classroom, can have an impact on life at home too.

The summer holiday is a relaxing time at home that allows a child to recall what they’ve learned, to talk about it and for their learning to be transferred from their short-term memory to their long-term memory.

If we don’t make an effort to store information, then we forget it.

A Shine family recently described memory difficulties as a being a bit like Dory, the forgetful fish in the Disney films ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘Finding Dory’.

Dory says,

“I suffer from short-term memory loss, it runs in my family. At least I think it does.”

There are many different forms of memory and there are many places in the brain where memories are stored.

Short-term memory, working memory and long-term memory all help children to remember what they have learned.

6 Top Tips for developing memory skills

If your child has some difficulties with memory and recall due to their condition, then here’s some memory tips to try.

  • Repetition: regular repetition for short periods of time with rest breaks in between all help to place a concept, a word or a fact into your long-term memory.
  • Rehearsal: Practise to prepare for rote learning, such as rehearsing letter sounds.
  • Labelling: Say what you see or do out loud – “I have handed in my homework.”
  • Routines: Establish and maintain routines that are predictable and easy for a child to understand. ‘ Scaffolding’ can be removed once a routine becomes part of long-term memory.
  • Mnemonics: Put initial letters together to make a new word to remind you of something like the colours of the rainbow in order are ROYGBIV and the sentence ‘Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain’ stands for Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Purple
  • Chunking: Group words or numbers together into a particular sequence that you can easily repeat. BBCATMUSA is hard to remember but BBC  ATM  USA is so much easier to remember.


Book recommendation

You can find more tips for improving memory in the book:

‘How can I remember all that?’ by Dr Tracey Packiam Alloway.

This book is for shared reading that parents and children can enjoy together.

  • Eating chocolate together is recommended as a great way to improve memory!
  • If you want to talk with a small child about having difficulty forming and storing memories, then watch ‘Finding Dory’ together so they can find ways of explaining the effects of their condition.

Dory says: “I remembered something! … OK, is it like a picture in your head and then you think I’ve seen this before? I’ve just used the word before which means I’m remembering something!”

7 Takeaways

There’s also 7 Takeaways about ADHD, working memory and parenting linked with Finding Dory from Click here to be taken straight to the page.


Wishing everyone a lovely summer from Shine!


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