Autism is a growing epidemic 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, it is important that parents understand how their Autistic child learns rather than search for a cure. Rote memory is one such development that Autistic children acquire at an early age. It is important to understand the role rote memory plays in your child’s personal learning style.
What is Rote Memory and How Does it Affect Children with Autism?
A powerful rote memory is one of the prominent strengths of any Autistic child. Rote memory is a learning technique that focuses on memorization. Autistic children have the ability to memorize entire television scripts or book passages but might have trouble carrying on a conversation or making eye contact when speaking to people.
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 extraordinary talents in one particular area. This misconception often hurts the development of other areas in a child’s education by encouraging the parents to focus on the one gift instead of creating a well-rounded educational environment.
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 Good Rote Memory?
Autistic children with a strong rote memory have the ability to do such things as:
- Remember entire conversations without hesitation
- Learning to sing songs forwards and backwards
- Recalling and solving difficult math formulas
- Master concrete and literal thinking
- Increased development through visual learning techniques
Compartmentalized learning is one of the other learning techniques for a good rote memory. Autistic children that 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 with random information picked up during their learning.
It is important for parents with Autistic children 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.