Can you help forgetfullness, memory, ADHD child?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jessica mom of 2, Sep 21, 2007.

  1. Jessica mom of 2

    Jessica mom of 2 New Member

    How do you help forgetfullness?

    My 7 year old difficult child with a diagnosis of severe ADHD is very forgetfull. Her memory is awful! She is taking Nordic Naturals Omega 3 fish oil (with high DHA) and thats it. This is her 2nd week on it. We have taken her off of focalin. It just wasn't working and it was her 4th medication.

    Poor thing, she tries very hard but everything everyday she forgets to do it. I have asked her to brush teeth, and I eventually have to walk with her to the bathroom to see that she starts to do so and that way I know its done. Once she gets started doing it, i know she will complete it. Asking her to do 2 things is way out of her league, she will forget both. She frequently forgets how to spell words and she will get upset because she says she doesn't know how to spell it. Things as easy as (they, home, get etc) its like she has to use her brain and she gets so upset because she is being forced to use it.

    She does have an IEP at school, resource class, and she has recently been moved back to 1st grade.

    Do any of you have any suggestions? I feel so sorry for my difficult child, and its hurts to see her struggle as all of you know what I am talking about!

    "We have to be the backbone for our children, if we as parents don't, who will?"
  2. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    From the Archives:

    Some of what you're describing might be age appropriate behavior. Some might be from the ADHD. And it's possible that there are some executive function deficits.

    If it's from the latter two, strategies to compensate will have to be learned.

    I'll respond more later when I'm not on cough syrup with a narcotic in it.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    difficult child 1 had this problem, as did easy child 2/difficult child 2. Both of them improved on stims, especially easy child 2/difficult child 2 whose forgetfulness almost vanished on stims. She went from failing maths in one year, to coming first in the class six months later. difficult child 1 still had short-term memory problems even on stims, but he adapted to using his long-term memory to compensate.

    As a coping mechanism, we used written lists. We'd write up a list on a small blackboard and difficult child 1 would tick things off the list or rub them out as they were completed. He could pack to go on holiday, but he couldn't remember the simple directions to get from one place to another. We finally got him into the habit of carrying a notebook and pencil around with him.

  4. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    If you are interested in natural methods, you might look into the connection between ADHD and the girlfriend/CF diet. It might just be gluten free for ADHD. I know there is info. out there about it.

    I personally started the gluten free diet about 1 1/2 years ago and immediately noticed I was more focused and less forgetful. I thought I had ADD before. I also had this brain fog that went away. I always did very well in school but I had noticed that it was hard for me to think any more. I thought it was just having 2 kids that always interrupted and being out of practice from not having a job for 10 years. But when I started the diet, I could feel this fog clearing out of my head.
  5. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    If I had the answer to this - I'd be rich.

    NL got his progress report last Friday. All As and Bs, but the best part was NO MISSED HOMEWORK! This is the first time in his entire school career that he didn't have at least one "0" for a missed assignment. Homework just has too many steps for him - hear it assigned, bring it home, do it, put it back in his bookbag, hand it back in. Somewhere along that line if falls apart. We've tried EVERYTHING - planners, voice recorder (he lost it), emailing me his homework assignments (he'd forget to bring the stuff home), what have you.
    So, needless to say, I was SO happy.

    Tuesday I get a call from his English teacher - he missed handing in an assignment. I sat NEXT to him as he did it, so I knew he had. He just didn't hand it in.....sigh.......

    I do know we cannot give him multiple item requests - he has to just do one thing, then get the next. If you tell him to do numerous things, he'll get so bogged down in thinking about doing them all that he gets nothing accomplished. We also must break down all long term assignments the same way - have him do one thing a day on them. He is good with "routine" - if he does something often enough to reinforce it, he can do multiple step tasks over and over.

    I really have no suggestions for you - I just keep trying things. They work for a while, then they stop.
  6. blb

    blb New Member

    The only thing that worked for my daughter is being on a medication, in her case Ritalin La (a time released version.)

    She still is forgetful, but with the medication and a LOT of structure, ie making lists, following the same routine day in day out, she has shown improvement.

    An example of the structure, every school morning we do this
    wake up 5:45, take medication
    clothes on by 6:15
    breakfast 6:15-6:30
    toothbrushing & hair & shoes 6:30-6:45
    6:45-6:50 coat on & out the door to bus

    We do this every day, and I am constantly prompting both my kids in this respect, with time checks to let them know if they are running late. After about a month of this it becomes routine--let's just say the first two weeks of school weren't exactly stellar moments (read racing for the bus while still brushing hair or putting shoes on)

    Executive function (organization) skills are the hardest to master especially with adhd, but they can be mastered if you create a lot of structure and then beat the dead horse through massive rote repetitiveness so that it becomes second nature. And then once one skill is mastered, head to the next by building upon what has already been learned.

    The homework issue is again being revisited this year because it's a new school and new structure, but thank god her teacher is very willing to help create the structure in his classroom with checks by him to make sure the work makes it home, then we start the structure again as soon as she gets home.

    As nuts as it sounds, because we are so regimented, they really (both my kids) seem to like the structure because they know what's expected of them. Days without structure are usually nightmares, save the occasional rainy day couch potato mode, which we all love - of course that's a weekend only sort of thing.

  7. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    blb makes a very good point.

    What has worked well for us is to have a very rigid structure, and lots of visual aids to reinforce it.

    For example: When difficult child needs to clean the bathroom, I hand him the Clean the Bathroom checklist, with all of the steps written down and little boxes where he can check the items off as he completes them. When he has the list in his had, difficult child does an excellent job with the chore...without it, he just stands there looking confused, because he literally does not know where to begin, or what comes after that.

    We have posters all over the house with rules, schedules and lists, and they really do help to keep all of us sane.

    ADHD makes it very difficult to keep things organized inside your head, so having external reinforcement really helps.

    You might want to try involving your child in making some of the lists and charts, which might also help her to remember. If you have a daily schedule, your daughter can decorate it with stickers to help her remember different tasks.
  8. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    A lot of this does sound like ADHD symptoms to me, but not all. Some of it could be related to a learning disorder. It's common for ADHD kids to have a coexisting learning disorder.

    This sounds to be learning disorder related.

    My son has moderate ADHD. He is forgetful also, has trouble with multistep directions, time awareness problems, etc. He's pretty classic ADHD. His ADHD helps with-these symptoms, but it certainly doesn't control them 100%.

    Charts can sometimes help with routine tasks, eg., break tasks down one at a time with items such as brush teeth, make bed, place toys in toy box, clothes into hamper, etc. In other words, a "to do" list that can be checked off. Many ADHD kids will need to use this form of reminders throughout there lifetime.

    You might want to pull out your child's evaluation reports, review the scores and subtest scores to see if you can pick up on problem areas. If you need it, there is information in the Special Education forum that helps parents learn how to understand normed scores.

    I posted Memory Problems thread as general info in Sp Ed 101 this morning. It contains very basic information, but you might want to check it out.
  9. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    It was posters and checklists for us, too. Really did help unless she was in total ODD mode and then it was irrelevant.

    For homework issues, I actually had it written in her IEPs that I was to be emailed all homework assignments for the week (with explicit instructions what the teacher wanted). Without my daughter knowing it, I would drop by the office on Tuesday or Wednesday and pick up copies of all worksheets, etc. (office staff would gather them for me). If a teacher felt it was too much of a bother to give me the assignments or turn in the worksheets, then the teacher could not give any grade for that assignment (no zero, no F, no incomplete, no excused nor unexcused, no A). It was if that homework assignment didn't exist. Obviously, we had a complete of text and workbooks at home.

    Homework came home in a folder marked with that subject. It went back in red folders. For each week she was late in turning in a homework assignment, her grade was marked down one grade.

    This worked for elementary and middle schools. Nothing worked for high school.
  10. Jessica mom of 2

    Jessica mom of 2 New Member

    The school district is getting ready to do an auditory processing disorder test on her. I am not very familiar with it but from what I have read "it sounds like my daughter to a T." So a combo of ADHD/Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) disorder is making it hard for her to funciton doing daily activites. I am not positive whether she has it, but I wouldn't doubt it.

    Does anyone know what this test includes? How is it done? I wonder why it hasn't been done already...oh well.

  11. blb

    blb New Member