Prospective memory is vital for managing responsibilities. It helps us arrange a plan in order to perform day-to-day activities. Ideally, tasks related to prospective memory appear regularly. Some tasks are as simple as remembering to stop at a store to shop for groceries. While others include remembering to call your friends to wish them a happy birthday. Children with an ADHD symptom often require assistance and skill to help improve prospective memory. In this blog, we will cover three skills that can help parents recognize how to improve their child’s prospective memory.
Prospective Memory: Types and Stages
There are two common types of prospective memories: the first one is event-based, and the second one is time-based. Event-based memories help us remember small things like submitting an assignment as soon as the class begins. Whereas time-based remembrance is mostly related to performing an action like reaching dance class at 6:00 P.M. Both types of prospective memories are further divided into four stages:
- Planning to do a task in the future
- Remembering to do that task without getting sidetracked
- Returning to the plan
- Following the plan and executing it
Failure to perform a task ideally occurs at stage two, wherein we get distracted from the main plan. Interestingly, in children with ADHD, the second stage occurs because they struggle to surpass the first stage. In simple words, they cannot create a plan. So, here are some real-life skills that can help you enhance prospective memory in children who suffer from ADHD.
Also Read: 8 Common ADHD Myths That Need Debunking
How to Improve Prospective Memory in ADHD Children?
There are different ways to improve functions related to your memory. However, in the case of ADHD children, you have to improvise certain techniques in order to help them create a plan to remember day-to-day tasks.
Identify the Intention of the Plan
If you Google terms such as best treatment for ADHD, you will come across several treatment plans. Some come in the form of medications, while others are designed to help ADHD patients. Improving prospective memory, though not an integral part of the treatment plan, can go a long way in balancing the symptoms of ADHD.
So, to begin with, you have to strengthen the intention with which the plan is created. In order to do the same, you have to help your child create a concrete plan. For instance, have your child look into the future. Help them analyze how they will look while performing the task. Moreover, help them create a plan that includes details such as what they will be doing before the task or how much time they need prior to the task preparation.
Connect the Task to a Habit
Say you have a habit of brushing your teeth every morning. You can correlate this habit by taking medications every morning. All you have to do is link one habit with a task that you are most likely to forget. You can either stick a note saying, ‘eat your medicine’ in front of the bathroom mirror. Or else, you can leave the medicine right in front of the toothbrush holder. Either way, a child suffering from ADHD will be able to plan and do simple tasks.
Utilize Tools to Trigger Memory
The usage of external tools is an easy way to trigger a forgotten memory. You can utilize these tools in the form of to-dos and checklists. You can also ask your child to create reminder queues and put them in places easily visible. In addition to this, teach your children to perform tasks as they go. In other words, do not let them delay tasks that require immediate attention. For example, folding clothes before going out to play or taking a water bottle to school. Put the bottle in the car while forming an intention to not forget it in the first place.
Other external factors or tools that will trigger memory include setting calendar alerts on the phone. This tool is quite helpful for event and time-based tasks. As an example, you can set a GPS on your phone to give an alert when you reach a specific location. This way you will remember to return library books or buy eggs from the grocery on the way back to your home.