Attention & Memory

Yes, this is part of speech therapy! In fact, you can't communicate at all unless this part works.

Ideas for school IEPs

The "I don't know but I know where to go to find it" notebook helps all ages. 

For the school-aged child I actually have it written into the IEP format that the child is allowed to draw/write anything into a 3-ring notebook and refer to the information during tests without penalty.  The information must be in the child's handwriting or he has hand drawn the visuals and not an adult's or a page zeroxed from a book.

Ideas for Attention Active Seating (exercise balls, sit upons, wedges), fidget widgets (heavy nut/bolt, magnets, koosh balls), chewy jewelry & pencil toppers, weighted fidgets or vests, writing all answers on a dry erase board instead of blurting them out so others in the classroom get a turn to verbally respond, doodling while listening.
Ideas for Memory Strategies has some fancy dancy small notebooks, but a small pencil (like one from a golf course) and a small pad of paper (like the small sized post-it pad) in your pocket to pull out and use works, too. The hard part is getting used to having it available. Yes, you can use your cell phone notepad, but, research has it that the actual act of writing increases memory more than typing. Using day planners (self created or purchased or digital).
Ideas for those with cognitive decline For the adult with memory challenges, I create a daily form that includes boxes to check when the mail has been received and if anything important came that a person wants to relate to the person that takes care of their finances, or has a box to check for reference that they have taken their medications in the morning, noon, supper and nighttime intervals, or has a place to note doctor's appointments for each day or be sure to watch television shows.  The size of the form depends on the amount of recall items. Contact me for examples.
Memory vs Recall Memory is what you do 'from scratch'. You memorized the addition/multiplication tables, the Pledge of Allegiance, and your phone number. It also is what we did in 'the good ol' days' when tests were 5 questions written on the blackboard and we were given blue books to write everything we knew about that topic. Nowadays, school tests are all about testing our recall. Multiple choice gives you the answer and you have to recall which one of the choices match the answer. Big difference in brain function because recall doesn't mean that you have to necessarily have it memorized but are good at deducing the answer given some information from which to compare.
Types of Attention Depending on which author you read there are many definitions/kind of attention. 1. Sustain Attention=what you try to do at a seminar. 2. Alternating Attention=attending to details to see differences such as making sure you follow the math signs +,-,divide, multiple and not just add. 3. Dual Attention=while you drive you also are attending to the radio, talking, looking in the review mirror. 4. Remote Memory=something related to 'time' such as while you are doing the dishes remember in a few minutes you have to switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer.
Websites:,, (under disorders:executive functioning disorder)
Books: Healing ADD:The Breakthrough Program that allows you to see & heal the 6 Types of ADD by Daniel Amen.... Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz needs to be read before reading Out of Sync Child Has Fun
How can I help? We'll work on compensatory strategies to assist with your memory. The ability to "Attend" can also be addressed by looking at various self monitoring strategies.


There are so many strategies
and I encourage you to contact me for more information.

Auditory/Visual/Kinesthetic task changes: There's been research as to whether a person has a 'preference' or is more efficient learning information in one modality more than others and depending on who you read. I believe this to hold some truth, not that a person can't learn in other modalities, but.......I also believe that folks with learning disabilities and ADHD have a learning preference. Therefore, a person sometimes has to view school as a place to gther information and then go home and learn it in a modality that suits them. Here are some ideas:

Auditory task has you listening and coming up with funny/emotional stories/scenarios to remember things.  You can pretend you are the teacher/preacher and talk it out loud.

You can make up a song or a cheerleading cheer with the information.

Visual task has you drawing pictures, writing keywords, or designing graphs or charts.

Using colored pencils to highlight items that are related helps you visualize correlations.

Kinesthetic task has you 'doing' and creating an event and an emotion to recall the information.  Use all types of craft mediums (make things out of sticks, rock formations, paints, fabrics) to manipulate and create.  Pacing or bouncing on a Pilate’s ball while you sing or rhyme the information may help some folk.

Break down the information and talk out loud while someone else plays 'secretary' and writes/types your thoughts.  Use "who, what, where, why, how" categories to jot down the details for a story line and then look at each item and write a sentence/paragraph.

Draw a picture of the story plot details while you are listening to someone read the story to increase your recall.   Then retell the story using the picture.