Memory Deficits in Students with TBI
TBI can compromise memory systems in students. Injuries to specific parts of the brain or microscopic injuries throughout the brain can be responsible for memory challenges. Sometimes, the deficits are lifelong and severe; other times they are relatively minor and improve over time. Often, students with TBI require some level of accommodation and support for memory issues to be successful in a classroom.
Organizational Supports and Strategies
No two students with TBI are the same. Each student's memory deficits are unique. Accomodations need to vary and depend on the individual student's ability to learn and to recall new material.
Understand the Problem
Since each student is unique, it is important to truly understand the problem. It is very difficult to create accommodations without a good understanding of the challenges the student faces. Questions to consider are:
- How does memory impact the student's ability to learn?
- How is the student's ability to recall affected?
- Does the memory issue affect new learning, prior knowledge, or both?
- Is the student's short term or long-term memory impacted?
- Try accommodations like relating new information to content they already know. Building associations can facilitate recall and retrieval by creating multiple paths to get to information.
- Use errorless learning. Be sure that all learning trials are correct. Incorrect trials for a student with TBI can lead to wrong or imcomplete learning.
- Plan to use external reminders and organizers. Try using datebooks, calendars, memory aides, etc.
- Think about using rhymes as aids. For example, "Id is the kid!" for part of Freud's personality theory.
- Acronyms can sometimes be helpful aides for memory. For example, Roy G Biv for the colors in the spectrum.
- Using visual images to associate information with striking visual images sometimes facilitates retrieval.
- Try using the Method of Loci. Items to be remembered are placed in a series of locations that can then be mentally reviewed at the time of retrieval.