Working on episodic memory

Fishing with Grampa

Richele over at Under the Golden Apple Tree posted a tutorial lately about making a bedtime story book.   As soon as I saw it, I immediately thought about how awesome this would be for working on episodic memory.

Episodic memory is an important cognitive skill.  It’s also a really hard one for children with autism.  You have to draw on your memories all the time to determine many things.  Feelings of competence come from memories of previously doing things well. 

Here’s a great blurb about episodic memory that I found on the RDI Connect website:

Memory is important for everyone in terms of learning, growing, and managing more complex social and emotional situations in life. We use our memories to build and strengthen relationships; to reflect on what we’ve done in order to make plans for the future; and to problem-solve based on past experiences. If we didn’t have memories to draw on, we would hardly move forward in life. Hence, developing meaningful memories is a critical skill for all people, including children with autism.

Linda Murphy, M.S., CCC-SLP, Certified RDI Program Consultant as published in the Fall 2010 issue of Autism Spectrum Quarterly.

Now that you know what it is, you can see how this is a great tool for working on this skill.  I would make one with family members in it that my child didn’t see often so he would be familiar with them.  Or pictures of school to look at over the summer to ease the transition in the fall.  Pictures of a fun family activity that you can reminisce about with your child.  Pictures of something that he accomplished that was a big deal.

As for us, we are going to put pictures of Grampa in a book.  Then we can look and reminisce about all the fun memories we have of him.  This will have a two fold purpose.  One, we will work on episodic memory .  Two, it will help both children as they continue to process their grief.  It will be comforting to see how Grampa’s legacy has lived on in both children.  Maybe put some memories of Grampa that we get from Grammy or Granny.  Compare how their childhood is different from his.  I can’t wait to get started!