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Four Memory-Boosting Tips for Your ADHD Child

Children with ADHD often do poorly in school because they have difficulty remembering and retaining what they are taught in class.  Come test time, they are unable to come up with the right answers even if they have studied the night before.  You can boost your child's memory by teaching the information using conceptual, visual, and auditory links so that he or she can remember crucial pieces of information.  Here are five ways you can do this:

Draw a picture depicting the information your child needs to memorize

Research shows that memory is sharpened when the details are exaggerated by emotion, color, or action.  The more incredible and bizarre the image is, the longer you retain details.  For instance, the vocabulary word "fathom" sounds like "fat thumb." Help your child remember this by drawing a guy with an enlarged thumb, looking completely puzzled about how his thumb got so large.

Use mnemonic devices

A mnemonic device is a trick that will help a child retain long lists of important facts.  The most popular types of mnemonic devices include

  • Rhymes
  • Acrostics – a phrase or sentence in which the first letters of the words are the same for the data to be memorized. For instance, Dead Monsters Smell Bad stands for the steps of long division – divide, multiply, subtract, and bring down
  • Acronyms – a word formed using the first letters of a list. For instance, ROYGBIV stands for the colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Viole

Use music and songs

Research shows that music can enhance memory, especially when repeatedly associated with a particular piece of data.  There are many songs, raps, and rhymes written to help students memorize the multiplication table, parts of the body, and other elementary school topics.  You can purchase them as CDs for your child to listen to in the car or at home. 

Write them down

Nothing beats good old-fashioned writing when it comes to retaining information.  At the end of the study period, have your child list everything he or she can remember, as rapidly as possible. This will increase memory recall and allow you to see which areas need more work.