External Memory Strategies

Difficulties with memory are one of the most common side effects of brain injury, and can have a serious impact on day-to-day functioning as well as communication ability. Last week, we discussed how speech-language pathologists can help a person to augment their memory by teaching compensatory memory strategies. The strategies discussed last week—visualization, association, and chunking—are all examples of internal compensatory strategies, or strategies that involve thinking about or structuring information in a way that makes it more memorable. Today, we’ll discuss another type of compensation: external compensatory strategies.


External compensatory strategies utilize outside resources to assist in recalling information. These resources can take a variety of forms, for example a technology-based organizer, such as a tablet or smart phone, a daily planner, a journal or even a voice recorder. Choosing the type of external support most appropriate to your lifestyle and needs is important. In some cases, your strategy may even change from situation to situation. For example, for remembering day-to-day events, a day planner with a brief, bullet pointed list of activities may be helpful. For future activities, smart phones or any other technology that can utilize a reminder beep is ideal. In some cases, more in-depth information may be necessary. For instance, you may find that you want to remember the specific content of a conversation, exchange, or event. By utilizing a memory journal, you can write out the information that you found important immediately after the exchange happened, and then review it at a later date when necessary. A speech-language pathologist will work with you to determine which type of external compensation is most appropriate for you and provide training strategies to use your chosen strategy as effectively as possible.


Have you or a loved one had a neurological injury that as affected your memory? Are you simply not satisfied with your memory performance and think that it could be improved with professional guidance? If so , you may benefit from the assistance of a certified speech-language pathologist. Contact Speech Associates of New York and allow our professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists help you communicate to the best of your ability. Our team provides in-home evaluations and therapy, and is trained in the assessment and treatment of a range of pediatric and adult speech, language and communication disorders. Call us today at (917) 841-2965 and find out how we can help you communicate your best!

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