Memory for Information or Instructions

This is the capacity for remembering chunks of information such as instructions. A weakness in this capacity results in the following symptoms.

There is difficulty remembering verbal information or instructions. The person has trouble remembering and therefore following lectures or extended conversations or instructions. Instructions often have to be repeated several times before the person is certain of what he is supposed to do, and this certainty doesn't last. The person is often aware that he has forgotten and is too embarrassed to ask again, after having had it explained so many times, and may decide to 'muddle through'.

One example is not being able to follow a radio program because the person could not remember enough of the information as she was listening. When she improved on this capacity she was able to follow the radio to the point that she even won a radio contest. This can also happen when watching TV or a movie - the person can't remember parts of the newscast or movie.

People with very poor memory for instructions/information tend to smile a great deal and not participate in any conversation or discussion because they can't remember enough of the information to follow. They also tend to tune out in lectures, conversations and job situations because they get tired due to the extra effort required to retain the information.

Parents often think their child is stubborn, irresponsible or lazy because they ask him to do something and it doesn't get done because the child forgets. If the child is told to do something and then gets distracted, for example by answering the telephone, the instruction will be totally forgotten, to the point where he may insist that the request was never made.

The child may get home after school and forget what the teacher asked him to do for homework.

When a person with this dysfunction studies there is a gradual degradation of the information he is trying to memorize. The person may memorize information for history, finding it hard initially, and he may have to go over it 10 times, but he feels that he knows a fair amount of the information by the end of studying. An hour later he's got 3/4 of it, a couple of hours later he's got about 1/2 and by the time he writes the exam he is in trouble.

One boy with a severe memory for instructions/information problem did not realize songs had stories in the lyrics because he could never remember the lyrics. This came as a revelation to him when he improved on this capacity.

One man who flies an airplane has trouble remembering the information from the tower (fortunately it is repeated several times) and reported some near misses due to this problem. This same man would be sent out to the grocery store with a verbal list of 4 or more items and would invariably forget several items.

People with this problem tend to compensate by taking notes in order to help them remember information or by developing rigid habits without which their lives fall apart.

Arrowsmith has changed the way I learn to a whole different level. It has taught me to be patient, and it has allowed me to mature in different ways. I am glad that I was placed in this program because if I had not participated, I would probably be stressing out in high school with my learning difficulties instead of feeling like a regular student.

- Faye, Student

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