& Professionals

How to help young people with auditory memory difficulties (memory for the spoken word)



What is Auditory Memory?


Auditory memory involves the holding spoken information in your mind whilst it is processed for meaning and long-term storage.  For example, a child may need to remember 3 things they have to bring to their desk, or to ‘write the date, underline it and draw 3 insects.’ 

Many children who have difficulty understanding spoken language or expressing themselves also have problems remembering information and may:

  • Have difficulty remembering large quantities of verbal information
  • Only recall/carry out part of an instruction
  • Switch off and stop listening if too much information is given
  • Watch and follow what other children are doing which may mask their difficulties in some situations. 
  • Struggle to answer questions based on a story that has been read to them


General Strategies


  • Find out how many items of information the child can remember.
  • Keep instructions short and simple
  • Break down large quantities of spoken information into smaller chunks
  • Give instructions one at a time
  • Repeat the information and encourage the child to say it back to you
  • Encourage all the children to say if they haven’t remembered everything


Specific Strategies


  • Use visual prompts, e.g. objects, pictures, visual timetables, charts, tables, lists, story plans, mind maps etc.
  • Encourage older children to write key points in a notebook and use this as a checklist.
  • Encourage the child to try different strategies to help themselves:-
    • Working out what the important words are in an instruction e.g. ‘Could you please go and get your maths books, and then hand them in to Miss Smith.’
    • Repeating out loud what they have to remember (as you would do when trying to remember a phone number).
    • Visualising the items (trying to see a picture in their mind’s eye).





Local Initiatives

Early Years Initiatives

Our Early years team are currently working together with the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, this includes a rollout of language screening of children using Wellcomm tool.

School Age Initiatives

This is an area currently under development. There are a number of exciting developments to look forward to in the upcoming months in regards to how we work in schools.


 Enhanced Services initiatives

The Enhanced Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) Service offer bought-in input in schools. This might involve universal input, individual or group interventions. The Enhanced Team also support schools and staff to develop communication friendly environments and deliver training. For further information, please contact Fiona Taylor –


I have found working with the speech therapist very beneficial. She helps me to set achievable goals for the children by coming into the nursery and interacting with the children and getting to know them. She talks to us on a regular basis and updates us on what targets she would like the children to achieve next. She teaches us new strategies to use with the children which we find really useful, we try to incorporate this into everyday activities. Parent’s often comment on how much they appreciate the advice from our therapist. They also comment on how much progress their children have made since visiting her. We don’t know what we would do without her!

Anneka Williamson, Children’s Centre Practitioner

“It brought different activities to his usual routine which he enjoyed and encouraged him to participate”


“I have two children who are supported by the speech and language therapy service. The therapists have lots of patience with my children. Both Christipher and Marcus have come on a lot. Marcus now has lots more confidence and he talks much more in the classroom. Christipher isn’t as stressed anymore, his therapist has taught me exactly what to do. If I need any help, she is very easy to approach. Before I try new things with Christipher I can check with her first. The therapist knows him very well. She has worked wonders with him. Without her, I wouldn’t know what to do.”

Nicola, Mum of Christipher and Marcus

"My son Lewis has been attending speech and language for a few years. He has come on briliantly and is more confident. His speech is so much clearer now. He also enjoys the sessions. Jean gives me loads of ideas about how to continue helping him at home. He gets work sheets to take home which also he enjoys doing. Lewis has a short attention span and can find it difficult to concentrate for long, but Jean makes it very interesting for Lewis and different every session."

Tracy, Lewis

"I am Megan’s mum. Megan was identified as having speech and language difficulties when she was at primary school. Since this time she has been supported by the Education Inclusion Service Speech and Language team. This has made a huge difference to the development of Megan’s speech and language. Not only do they support Meg, they also support the staff at the school in delivering the programmes that Megan needs. The team are also there to answer any questions that I may have and will send us regular information on Megan’s target’s, what they are and if she has achieved them. Megan enjoys the sessions that she attends at school and they are delivered at times that try not to impact too greatly on her daily school life."

Hayley Robinson, Megan

EPs and SALT frequently work together during Multi agency meetings to Clarify individual concerns and strengths. We develop joint objectives, that are regularly reviewed And evaluated to improve outcomes for children and YP. Parents and teachers comment that this work is effective and helps to increase their Understanding and knowledge. Jointly we increase schools capacity, through conversations and training, to meet the needs of their pupils.

Joanne Snee- Educational Psychologist

“I couldn't be happier Grayson has come on so much in these 6 weeks. It has helped 100%. Thank you so much”

Parent of Grayson

“The service has been really helpful, the staff also been very kind and experienced. My child has learnt and developed some new communication skills and I also as the mom have known new ways to help my child through. Thanks”

Anonymous Parent

“I have not tried to phone as I am deaf. I felt like I was listened to with the use of a BSL interpreter. My son enjoyed coming into the room and playing with the toys.”

Anonymous Parent