Short-Term Memory Loss in Kids: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Short Term Memory Loss in Children – Causes and Tips to Cope With It

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Arti Sharma (Paediatrician)
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Apart from the little joys and happy moments that parenthood offers to you, come several responsibilities and problems of which you should be well aware of. Short-term memory loss is one such problem which is quite common in children and definitely needs attention. Read this post for more information on short-term memory loss, how it could affect children and how parents can identify and help treat it.

What Is Short-Term Memory Loss?

Short-term memory loss refers to a condition in which people can remember things that they had heard or learnt long ago but are unable to remember details that they heard only some time ago. For example, if you are suffering from short-term memory loss, you might remember incidents from 20 years ago quite vividly, but incidents or details that you heard only 20 minutes ago might appear to be indistinct or hazy. Technically speaking, the inability or rather an impaired ability to form fresh or new episodic memories is known to be a condition of short-term memory loss.

What Causes Short-Term Memory Loss in a Child?

There are quite a lot of reasons that may lead to short-term memory loss in children. Some of these causes are explained as follows:

1. Sleep Deprivation

Proper sleep both in terms of quantity as well as quality is extremely important for a child’s memory to function properly. Hence, if a child is sleep-deprived, he may suffer from this problem.

2. Dyslexia

Apart from affecting fluency of speech and accuracy of comprehension, dyslexia can also take a toll on the memory, causing the child to suffer from short-term memory loss.

3. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Children who have ADHD usually experience short-term memory loss as they are not able to concentrate or pay attention to most of the stimuli that they are subjected to.

4. Dyscalculia

As children suffering from dyscalculia are unable to process visual and auditory information, they find difficulty in retaining the same, which leads to this problem.

Signs and Symptoms of Short-Term Memory Problems in Children

More than treating the problem, identifying the condition of short-term memory loss in your child is a challenge in itself. Some of the signs and symptoms of it are mentioned below:

  • Inability to relate to an incident that is known to the child.
  • Inability to identify places that the child has visited before.
  • Difficulty in remembering dates, names, etc..
  • Difficulty in remembering things taught to him earlier.

What Complications Can Short-Term Memory Loss Cause in Kids?

Memory loss in kids can often be a result of something trivial such as the child not paying attention to the initial stimulus or the like. However, it can also stem from some serious problems. Short-term memory loss in children can be indicative of:

  • Stroke
  • Malfunctioning of the brain
  • low IQ
  • Nerve impairment

How Is Childhood Short-Term Memory Loss Diagnosed?

Short-term memory loss in children is usually characterised by the inability to reproduce or retain details which are usual for a child to remember. A paediatrician or a child specialist should confirm the same after going through the child’s case study and observing him for a few sessions. Sometimes, even tests like MRI, CT Scan and so on are performed upon the child in order to diagnose the problem.

Treatment for Short-Term Memory Loss in Children

The treatment of short-term memory loss in kids depends on what the root of the problem is and how serious the problem is. If it is a minor issue and has been detected in the initial stages, the problem can be solved using behavioural therapies or by changing the learning pattern of the child. If it is complicated, doctors often resort to medicines such as anti-anxiety drugs.

Having said that, most of the times, parents can adopt some methods to handle and even prevent short-term memory problem. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Parental Tips to Handle and Prevent Short-Term Memory Issues in their Child

Keep the following things in mind while dealing with your child:

  • Be patient: No matter what problem your child is suffering from, you have to deal affectionately and patiently with him. Being patient will encourage your child to keep trying without any stress, and get better at things, including dealing with short-term memory loss.
  • Proper diagnosis: Before arriving at a conclusion, make sure that the doctor has confirmed and diagnosed the exact problem.
  • Shower love and attention: Kids can be very vulnerable if not well attended, and so, providing the right amount of attention can often help in overcoming minor problems.
  • Provide practice sessions: Memory can be improved to a great extent by proper practise and exercises. Make sure you provide them well. You can even arrange for activities and games that stimulate the brain, encourage learning, and help deal with memory issues.
  • Follow-up with the doctor: Even if you notice improvements, it is necessary that you follow-up with the doctor for professional guidance and check-up.

Remember that the problem of short-term memory loss is not very rare, and it can be treated. As physical growth happens in stages, mental growth and memory, too, develops over time. With an encouraging environment, appropriate activities, a little bit of patience, and proper medical attention, several cases of short-term memory loss can be easily managed and even treated.

Also Read: Medulloblastoma in Children

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