Therapy room at Lighthouse Autism Center with toys on a table with blue chairs and book shelves above

Importance of Memory – Lighthouse Autism Center

Rote memory is one of the most important strengths that autistic children develop. We take a look at the role this skill plays in an autistic child’s life and the benefits it offers.

Autism Symptoms: The Importance of Memory

Autism is appearing more often among American children. In the last ten years, the number of children born with one of the various forms of autism has doubled. With so little known about what causes autism and its symptoms, it is important that parents understand their child’s developmental milestones and how the child learns rather than search for a cure. 

Rote memory is one such development that autistic children acquire at an early age and critically affects the way they learn. It is essential to understand in-depth the role rote memory plays in your child’s personal learning style so that it can be nurtured in the right educational environment.

What is Rote Memory and How Does it Affect Children with Autism?

A powerful rote memory is one of the significant strengths of any autistic child. Rote memory is a learning technique that focuses on memorization through repetition or routine. It differs from other learning techniques, such as active learning, associative learning, and meaningful learning, which are more focused on the connection between meaning, understanding, and the relationships between things. Many autistic children have the ability to memorize entire television scripts, book passages, or facts about their favorite hobby but might have trouble carrying on a conversation or making eye contact when speaking to people, or recalling what took place earlier that day.

The reason behind the memory advancement is that autistic children develop through “splintered” learning. What this means is that children with autism develop their rote memory early while other skills take longer to manifest.

What are the Benefits of a Rote Memory?

Autistic children with a strong rote memory have the ability to do things such as:

  • Remember entire conversations without hesitation
  • Learn to sing songs forward and backward
  • Recall and solve complex math formulas
  • Master concrete and literal thinking
  • Display increased development through visual learning techniques

What are the Disadvantages of a Rote Memory?

Autistic children who can only learn using rote memory techniques may struggle with:

  • Correctly understanding a concept
  • Developing a deeper understanding of a particular subject
  • Developing social skills that are strengthened with other learning styles
  • Growing their problem-solving skills
  • Linking existing and new knowledge

How Learning and Rote Memory Work Together in Autistic Children

Compartmentalized learning is one of the other learning techniques for a good rote memory in those with autism. Autistic children who learn this way learn things in chunks. This is both a benefit and a downside in the development of rote memory. Learning information in chunks helps to speed along the advancement of learning, but learning so much at one time can make it difficult for children with autism to separate useful information from random information picked up during their learning.

Encouraging Well-Rounded Learning

While every autistic child shows impressive advancement in one or another educational sector, it is important to remember that it is not a “savant” capability, otherwise known as an extraordinary talent, in one particular area. This misconception often impairs the development of other areas in a child’s education because the parents focus on the one gift instead of creating a well-rounded educational environment.

Speak to our Specialists to Find Out More about Learning and Memory

It is important for parents of children with autism to remember that each child learns differently and will develop some skills earlier than others. That is why it is crucial to speak with an autism specialist to determine what skills your child has, what needs to be further developed, how your child learns, and how to help increase the rote memory that is important for your child’s development.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

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