& 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

We currently offer a range of virtual training sessions to schools for free! SENCo's will have been informed of training dates that you can book your staff on to. Please contact Fiona Taylor ( or your Link SLT if you have any questions about this. 


 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 –


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