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Managing ADHD Forgetfulness

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If you have ADHD, you may find that you have impaired short-term or working memory.  As a result, you may have difficulty remembering assignments or completing tasks that require focus or concentration.

If you wish to have a consultation to discuss your ADHD memory problems, click here.

Below are some recommendations VeryWellHealth recently posted that may help you.


"Stimulant medication has been shown to improve many symptoms of ADHD, and for some, it may help manage working memory and other memory difficulties.

"Organization Tools

There are lots of ways to help you stay on track and remember details you need to know. These include:

  • Calendars, either physical or digital
  • Setting alarms and reminders for appointments, tasks, and commitments
  • Apps for organization
  • Lists so no step or item gets missed
  • Posted lists of instructions and routines for children
  • Visual reminders such as sticky notes
  • Visualizing the end result, not the individual tasks, such as posting a picture of your child completely ready for school, with all the items they need


"Memory and sequencing games such as Concentration, matching games, and Simon Says can help strengthen existing memory skills.


"Repeating and rehearsing information, routines, and other things you or your child need to remember can help it "stick" better. When giving instructions to a child with ADHD, ask them to repeat what you said.


"Mnemonics involves using little "tricks" to link new information being learned to information you already know.

"Examples of mnemonics include:

  • Chunking: Organize bigger info into smaller groups of info, such as how a phone number is formatted as 111-222-3333
  • Musical: Set the info to a tune you know, or make one up. Think of how jingles work.
  • Acronyms: Use the first letters to create an acronym that prompts you to remember the whole phrase, such as HOMES for the names of the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior).
  • Acrostics: This type of poem works by assigning each letter in the concept a word to make up a phrase, such as Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge to remember the sequence of lines in a treble clef or Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally for the order of operations in math (parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction).
  • Rhyming: Rhyming can help make something easier to remember, such as, "I after E except after C" or "30 days has September, April, June, and November".
  • Connections: Make connections between information. If you need the red and green files, think of them as the "Christmas files". Assign an adjective to people's names, such as Happy Harry.
  • Method of Loci: Picture a path with familiar objects along the way, such as the rooms in a house, or landmarks on the way to school or work. Assign information you want to remember to each of those places. When you need to remember that information, mentally "walk" the path, triggering the recall of the information as you go.

Tips to Improve Memory

"There does not appear to be a way to reliably improve working memory in a sustained, long-term way. Apps and games exist with the purpose of improving working memory, and "brain training", but the evidence is mixed on their efficacy.

“There is more evidence for improvements in the task specifically "worked" by the app, but less to support these gains being applicable to other areas more broadly.

"A 2019 study suggests promise for training tasks that target multiple cognitive constructs, instead of working memory or attention alone, and are administered in person instead of virtually. This approach showed an impact on the trained skills with transferred effects to everyday functioning such as behavior, academics, confidence, cooperation, and self-esteem. More research is needed to explore these findings.


"Memory problems such as forgetfulness and poor working memory are linked to ADHD. People with ADHD may have difficulty encoding and processing information in their working memory, which may lead to problems with long-term memory.

"There is no proven way to improve working memory overall, but research is being done into "brain training" apps and games as a way to positively affect working memory in people with ADHD. Tools such as mnemonic devices, calendars, organization apps, and utilizing reminders can help people with ADHD remember information, tasks, and events.

"Stimulant medication and behavior therapy as part of the overall treatment of ADHD may also help with memory difficulties.

"If you or your child have ADHD, you may notice symptoms like forgetfulness, inattention, and other characteristics affected by working memory. While you probably can't change your working memory significantly, you can work with and build on the skills you have.

"See your healthcare provider to discuss treating your overall ADHD. This may help with memory symptoms. You can also try using memory "tricks" such as mnemonic devices and organizational tools to help you stay on track.”

Play Attention has specific course modules to improve your spatial memory, short term memory, working memory, and long term memory.  Call 828-676-2240 or click here to schedule a 1:1 consultation to learn how we can improve your memory and executive function.  We can help you solve the ADHD puzzle