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How Does Disability Affect a Child’s Memory?

April 04, 2013

Did you know that disability can negatively affect a child’s ability to remember information and events? Disability Living has devoted this week to blogging about memory loss and how it affects the disability community of Canada. Children make up a significant portion of Canada’s disability community, and they deserve to be understood. Something that is misunderstood about children with disabilities is the way certain physical, mental, emotional, and intellectual restrictions prevent them from properly remembering things. Read on if you’d like to better understand memory function in kids with disabilities.

What causes memory loss in children?

Most people associate memory loss with the aging process, disorder or disease. All of these factors can reduce the effectiveness of one’s memory. But disability can also be a cause of memory loss, which is sometimes the case with children with cognitive disabilities, for example. Some disabilities cause a sense of inner disorganization, which makes it tough for a child’s memory to work as it should.

As you are well aware, there are different types of memories — some emotional in nature, and some purely factual/data-related. A child who has a cognitive disability might experience difficulty distinguishing between these different types of memory functions. The good news is some children’s memory functions can be increased.

What promotes memory function in children with disabilities?

Does your child have a disability that prevents him or her from having a fully functioning memory? If so, consider the following:

– Repetition is excellent for sharpening the memory. This is because repetition exercises connections in the brain that are responsible for creating long term memories.

– Creative activities are wonderful for children with certain types of disabilities. Why? Because creative activities help to incorporate the senses, which might increase memory function (ask an Occupational Therapist or physician about this).

– Providing your child with sensory input might be helpful for his or her memory function. Sensory input may help with sharpening the long term memory. Sensory input includes sights, smells, sounds, textures and colors. (Note: Before providing sensory input for your child with a disability, please speak with an Occupational Therapist about what types of sensory input would be helpful. This is very important, especially if your child is sensitive to textures, certain foods, etc.).

Disability Living invites you to share your thoughts with us by commenting on this blog post. Thank you for reading the Disability Living blog!

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Image made available by Moyan_Brenn on Flickr through Creative Commons License.

*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority.  Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.

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