We all have different methods of learning. I’ve often talked about how our kids with autism “think in pictures.” It’s a well known fact that a lot of kids with autism are very visual. Traditional methods for learning such as taking notes and using flashcards are the most basic and have been around for ages. In fact, these methods are being enhanced in our 21st-century world with voice recordings and digital flashcards simply because they work! Voice recording takes all the stress out of note taking nut flashcards can change everything! Try incorporating flashcards into your child’s learning routine as it is one of the best ways to learn via active recall and gives your child a visual to recall when needed.
Why are flashcards useful?
Active recall is a principle of learning that differs from the “regular” passive recall learning method, which usually includes reading, highlighting, listening, and watching. It’s been described as much more effective than those passive methods and works on the idea that actively stimulating your memory leads to better learning outcomes. Active recall methods also really help memories to move from your short-term to your long-term memory.
Benefits of using flashcards for learning
One of the best ways of incorporating the principles of active recall into your child’s lessons is flashcards. Instead of simply reading the information, flashcards allow you to gently quiz your child as well as give a visual on the chosen topics. This process of remembering a concept from scratch rather than trying to internalise it by reading has been proving to create stronger memories that more easily transfer into your long-term memory. Children with autism can have trouble determining what is short term memory and what is long term. Flash cards work on that recall.
Flashcards allow for confidence-based repetition
Confidence based repetition is another principle of learning that has long been known to be very effective and you have most likely already encountered in your life. Essentially it boils down to repetitively learning the things you struggle with, like e.g. certain words when learning a new language, and spending less time on the things you are already confident with. Flashcards make this process incredibly easy as you can easily just sort them into piles and continue studying the ones that cause your child issues along the way.
Flashcards and metacognitive functions
By “quizzing” your child on the topics he’s learning about, you are implementing a metacognitive control function. Every time he thinks of an answer for a question and reveal the solution on the flashcard, his brain evaluates how his decision compares to the actual solution. Eventually, he begins assessing his own thinking and by engaging in this act of self-reflection he is ingraining these memories even deeper into your long-term memory.
Flashcards are affordable
Flashcards are incredibly affordable, and you can easily make them yourselves. You don’t need to buy fancy stationery or fancy cards. Just use plain cards of around 3 to 5 inches in size. Buy them in bulk and there are plenty of other uses around the house for them as well. The caveat is that you want to glue or draw pictures on them , if you make them homemade, for your visual learner. You can easily find them at the Target Dollar Spot or the Dollar Tree as well.
Flashcards are versatile
Flashcards are incredibly versatile. You can use them for studying simple facts and also more complex processes. From studying ABCs to multiplication to more technical subjects such as physics or chemistry, flashcards are one of the best ways to effectively memorise information. Repetition is key to getting these processes in place.
Flashcards are portable
The great thing about flashcards is that they easily fit into your pocket or bag. You can simply take them anywhere you go and due to their nature, they are perfect for quick work sessions on the go. Think of the time at therapy sessions when you need to kill time while waiting. With flashcards, you could easily turn these couple of minutes into an effective learning experience.
Tips for studying with flashcards:
· Build large stacks of instructions to use in different subjects
· Shuffle multiple cards together to build connections between topics
· Study with friends by pulling out the cards to test other’s active recall
Flashcards are not only one of the best ways when it comes to effectively memorising information of all kinds, but they are also very easy to use, affordable, and handy. With modern innovations such as virtual flashcards, the positive effects of these cards are amplified even more. Smart algorithms can now create your very own spaced repetition system for your child and many virtual flashcards give you the option to teach your child about entire subjects you would have never even thought of before.