Cobblers about Memory

January 28, 2018

Cobblers about Memory  

One of my reception children had succeeded in flattening another boy during playtime. At the end of the day, I called in the parent of the guilty child.

“Mrs. Bling, you are aware that your child is responsible

for seriously injuring another boy in the playground?”

“Yes, I can see that. But he was on antibiotics at the time.”

“!?*!?!”

 

So what is there to feel guilty about? Well, parenthood is about guilt. Ask any parent – it comes with the territory. In every ante-natal class there should be a risk assessment form available ……………

“Are you prepared to feel guilty for the rest of your life?”

My parents came from a generation which felt they had completed the task of parenthood by having me, thus ensuring that the family genes lived on. Of course I was well-fed and watered, but it was mainly up to me how I fared;

“You make your bed – you lie in it.”

 

These days, parents feel that they can never do enough for their children. Try to separate out what is normal parental guilt, and what guilt is generated by being the parent of a dyslexic child. Then we can weed out what aspects of a dyslexic profile create guilt and what, if anything, we can do about it.

 

Weak Memory.

This is a fundamental characteristic of Dyslexia. If you’ve got it, you’ve got it forever, like the colour of your eyes.  The nature and severity does vary from individual to individual. We all need a reasonable amount of memory to get us through our daily routines. The consequences of a weak memory can have an impact on all relationships. As a parent, you feel guilty because you are constantly giving reminders. Every morning you are on the verge of being late because your child has forgotten something. You are always apologising because your child forgets to take things to school/ bring things home/ confuses homework. You seem to be practising the same old spellings and tables. These are all the consequences of a weak memory.

 

As far as I am aware, there is no known lasting cure. Over the years, therapies have become available which claim to significantly improve working memory. They tend to be very expensive, so do your homework first. Some do show benefits in the short term, but most of these therapies have not been around long enough to allow research-based evidence of any long-term benefits.

A dyslexic’s memory skills are underused, partly because from a very early age, parents tend to do things for them – anything for a quiet life. If your child is taking ages to get ready for school, it is much easier to dress them, pack their book folder, sort out their homework etc. However, this limits the opportunities to learn independence and self-worth. You must consciously work out how much responsibility you are going to give to your dyslexic child, without going nuts!

Success really is about coming to terms with the fact that

your child will benefit from developing coping strategies.

 

Your life will revolve around “external memories.” At a simple level these are visual time-tables, calendars, and diaries. The technology is out there – so use it! Mobile-phone reminders, computer calendars…..there is no end of stuff. My friend Eve, who has a very dyslexic son, swears by using Post-its. The house is decorated with scraps of luminous paper bearing reminders.

Keep all school stuff in one place – preferably in a box by the front door, ready to pick up as you go out. Lay out school uniform the night before. For children who have real problems putting clothes on in the correct order, teach them to stack their clothes in the order in which they dress. Start buttoning shirts from the bottom instead of the neck. Buy Velcro fastenings on shoes – tying laces requires a good working memory!

The scenario to avoid is constantly giving verbal reminders. This is perceived as ‘nagging’ and drives you and everyone else up the wall! And anyway, children don’t listen. Be honest- nobody listens! Take time to practise strategies and allow your child to develop the responsibility of using them. I have had a child turn up to school in his pyjamas because he continually ignored the morning routine. He only did it once! Let them take the consequences – it is called ‘tough-love’.

For more ideas, read……………….

‘Cobblers about Memory Strategies ‘

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Call Sheila if you wish to find out more.

01297 445464