Cobblers about Memory Strategies

February 08, 2018

Cobblers about Memory Strategies 

“I would like to be an engineer – but I can’t spell it.” (10 year-old dyslexic)

The daily school routine is fraught with issues for dyslexic children. A good memory is vital for getting through the day. A poor memory can create very stressful situations. The obvious signs are………

  • Forgetting stuff!
  • Not being aware in the first place that there is stuff to remember!
  • Begin distracted – usually labelled as day-dreaming.
  • Not following instructions – usually labelled as lazy.
  • Not understanding the teaching – usually labelled as lazy.
  • Copying others work and behaviour. This is powerful evidence that they have not understood the instructions.

When you are talking to the school, use the vocabulary which surrounds dyslexia. Words are very powerful – look at Hitler! I am not suggesting that we go as far as eradicating everyone off the face of the earth, leaving a master race of dyslexics, but words give you strength and authority.

The vocabulary points to the solution. Make it clear that you are aware that these characteristics are reasons, not excuses, for a child’s behaviour. Use ‘I’ and ‘we’ to show that you are offering to be part of the solution.

“My son has poor memory. It is part of his dyslexic profile”

“He has difficulty processing verbal and/ or visual information. Could we find some way of making sure that he understands the instructions?”

“My daughter may appear to be ignoring you, forgetful, but that is part of her dyslexic profile, not a behavioural issue.”

“I know he keeps leaving his folder in his tray. He is dyslexic and so maybe we can come up with a way of helping him to remember.”


  • Stuff that has to go home daily: book folders/ lunch box/ stuff on peg

Arrange for an adult to give him a personal reminder (teacher/ TA). If school is not prepared to do this, ask if you may go in and sweep up his stuff from the classroom. We are working towards independence, so ask to post a visual list in the classroom/ cloakroom as a reminder. Then it becomes part of the child’s routine to check at the end of the day.


  • Stuff that goes home weekly: homework/ newsletters. Find out exactly when this paperwork is due home and due back. Don’t rely on verbal explanations from your child! Arrange with the teacher to have a home- school book which gives clear details of what your child has to do for homework – AND HOW TO DO IT!


  • If there has been an incident at school, don’t rely on an accurate account from your child. Many dyslexic children have a very finely tuned emotional intelligence, and they are prone to over-interpreting what has happened. I have witnessed a dyslexic’s description of a play-time brawl re-enacted to BAFTA level. Go in and get the details from a reliable source before you form any judgments.

To re-cap: a weak memory is part of being dyslexic. As a parent, it is difficult enough trying to remember all the things you have to do during the day. Add to this the issue of trying to remember for someone else, and the stress increases.

Having feelings of guilt and blame towards someone or something is natural. Take the step to make yourself feel better. If you take a step, you are inviting the other parties involved to take a similar step and allow things to move on.

Use the language – it gives you enormous strength.


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Call Sheila if you wish to find out more.

01297 445464