Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed how speech-language pathologists can help individuals who have difficulty with memory, strengthening their skills for better communication and everyday functioning. Today we’ll talk about a specific type of strategy speech-language pathologists use to help their clients improve their memory skills: internal compensatory memory strategies.
In our last blog we discussed external compensatory strategies, which utilize outside resources to assist in recalling information (e.g. planners, journals, or technology). Internal compensatory strategies create ways of thinking or structuring information so that it is more easily stored and retrieved. By manipulating the information that you take in on a day-to-day basis, you can much more easily recall what you need.
The following are some common internal compensatory strategies:
Visualization: Creating a picture or short movie in the mind that depicts the information that you need to remember in a visual manner. For example, if you want to remember your meeting in NYC is on May 27th, you may take a minute to form a mental image of you, standing outside the Empire State Building, holding a sign that reads “5/27”. By creating and concentrating on this image, you are much more likely to recall the information in the future.
Association: Linking new information to information you already know. For example, if you needed to remember the name of a person you just met, you may think of a person you already know with the same name, and associate those two individuals in your mind.
Chunking: Dividing large amounts of information into smaller groups. One common example of chunking is how we remember phone numbers. We typically don’t think of phone numbers as consisting of seven distinct digits. Rather, we group the first three and latter four together to make two small groups.
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