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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dyslexia Strategies: Improving Your Memory for Names

A common difficulty for individuals with dyslexia is word finding problems.  They may know someone's or something's name one day, but are unable to access the same information the next.  In fact, in those moments when they can not recall the needed name, they may be able to tell you how many syllables are in the name or even the beginning letter.  This can be a frustrating and embarrassing problem, and learning memory strategies can help.

Managing Word Finding Difficulties:
The key to improving memory is to be mindful and employ memory strategies that are in line with strengths.  By playing an active role, individuals with dyslexia can learn to organize material, employ methods and make connections to prior knowledge so new information can be encoded and then easily retrieved. 

How Can One Determine Strengths that Can Be Utilized?
The answers to the following questions, can help tailor an approach!

Do you remember what you:
  • see?  - use visual strategies
  • hear?  - use auditory strategies
  • touch? - use tactile strategies
  • say or discuss? - use verbal strategies
  • think about? - use reflective strategies
  • sequence? - use sequential strategies
  • categorize? - use simultaneous strategies
Visual Strategies:
Generate visual associations. A visual association allows you to connect a mental image with the information memorized.  
  • Say you are introduced to a woman named Mary.  You could visualize her on her wedding day getting married. 
  • Say you met a little girl named Patricia.  You could visualize giving Patricia a pat on her back.
  • There is a local garden where I love to take walks.  The woman that runs the facility always remembers my name and greets me with a smile.  After forgetting her name twice, I decided to come up with a strategy.  When she reminded me that her name was Barb, I said, “Ah, there is barbed wire around the gardens to keep the deer out."
  • I remember the first time I met a co-worker named Vera.  She was wearing a V-necked shirt, so I made the conscious effort to visualize Vera in her V-necked shirt.
Auditory Strategies:
Create rhyming word associations.  
  • Say you met a guy named Paul.  Perhaps Paul is small.  If not, perhaps you could find some part of his body that is small – such as his nose or ears.
Create auditory associations.  A word may sound like something that reminds you of the person.  
  • For example, Rich may be a wealthy or a "rich" man.
Use the alphabet.  Search through the alphabet to see if that jogs your memory.  
  • “Does his name begin with A?  With B?..."
Tactile Strategies:
Use a pen and paper.  The physical act of writing down the names that you have to remember, can be very helpful for some individuals.  
  • When you meet someone new, you can place their name and any notes in a little notebook on your smartphone.
Verbal Strategies:
Utilize verbal rehearsal.  Some individuals are assisted when they are able to verbalize new information.  
  • After you are introduced to someone, say their name aloud and then try to use it as much as possible.
Reflective Strategies:
Make personal connections. 
  • When meeting new people, associate their name with another person you already know that has the same name.  
  • I remember the flower impatiens, because I used to get impatient trying to remember the name. 
Sequential Strategies:
Organize information in a sequence or series.
  • If you have to learn a group of names, organize them in alphabetical order.
Simultaneous Strategies:
Organize the information into categories.  Arrange the material you have to learn by placing the names into groups.
  • I have trouble recalling the names of flowers.  One day, I noticed that four of the flowers that bloom in my garden each year all start with the letter, H.   This is often enough for me to recall: hosta, hydrangea, hibiscus, and hyacinth.  What's more, three begin with the sound "hi!" 
Combining Strategies:
Unite two or more strategies for better results!  It will be even easier to recall names when using more than one strategy!  
  • Geranium rhymes with the word cranium (auditory) and my red geraniums in my garden are shaped similar to a brain (visual).
  • When I'm networking and meet new people online, I utilize both a visual and tactile approach. All new people are placed into a document within a table.  In the first column, I copy a picture of that person.  In the second column, I record their name and contact information.  In the third column, I record some notes about them and our correspondences.
So, if you want to improve your memory or help others to do so, be sure to try some of these mindful and multisensory approaches.  I hope you found this helpful!  If you have other ideas, please share them below this blogpost. 
 
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

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