Occupational Therapy


Memory is the ability to understand, store and recall information. All learning depends on memory.

Brainwaves move at over 150mph. A brain receives information, sorts it and will ignore what it doesn’t need. 70% of what we learn in a day is gone in 24 hours….unless you really try remember it and practice!

How we remember is strongly linked to our senses. For example, some people learn through their visual senses because they have strong connections to their visual memory. Memory is improved when learning is multi-sensory, by seeing, doing, writing down, and listening.

Dive Deeper

Tips To Improve Memory

Some of these suggestions will work for your child or young person, but not all of them. Try a few out at a time to see which ones work best.  

  • Create brain frames (or spider diagrams) – use key ideas and facts only. Redraw the brain frame to compare with original sheet. Highlight any errors to show visually
  • Use multi-sensory techniques – see it, hear it, do it
  • Create visual images: get your child to picture it in their mind
  • Check they understand – it’s much harder to learn if you don’t fully understand what you are reading or being told
  • Organise information into chunks – put information into sequences or categories e.g. types of food, colours
  • Get them to record their own information – read out and record onto a mobile phone perhaps
  • Listen to music while you work – try soft music with no words in the background. Music can trigger your memory
  • Try flash cards – use different coloured card, highlighters or pen. Use bullet points or key words on one side and meanings and explanations on the other
  • Use checklists or post-its on bedroom wall
  • Use a small pocket-sized notebook to jot down important things to remember.

Verbal Instructions

Verbal instructions can sometimes be harder to remember if there isn't a written reminder. Here are some ways to help your child remember verbal instructions. 

  • Simplify your language when giving instructions
  • Speak slowly, shorten comments and repeat
  • Reinforce verbal instruction with facial expressions, hand movements and body language
  • Don’t rush them
  • Try giving one instruction at a time
  • Print out a picture card with instructions and hand it to your child, whilst you give the verbal instruction
  • Ask them to repeat what you have said
  • Give lots of verbal praise.

Who Can Help?

Children's Occupational Therapists work with children from birth to 18 (or 19 if attending Complex Need schools). If your child or young person is under the Occupational Therapy teams, you can speak to them about any questions you may have.

If you think your child requires specialist support, please speak to their GP.

If you have any questions about your child or young person's general health or development, you can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

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