Autism and Memory: 5 Easy Activities

Special Education
Autism and Memory: 5 Easy Activities

Memory is a psychological process of acquiring, storing, and later retrieving information. The brain’s right hemisphere - in other words, the right side of the brain predominantly controls memory. Memories are created through the connections (synapses) that exist between the neurons, either through the growth of new connections or by strengthening the existing ones.

Autistic individuals find it hard to juggle the processing of new information and how it relates to what they have already read or experienced. It can be extremely hard for many of them to accept a change in the way they have previously absorbed information and understood it. Therefore, as professionals and parents when working with memory, it is important that we break down complex tasks into simpler units and facilitate progression.

Here are a few activities to increase memory in children:

  1. Guess which hand

Materials required: Small ball/ toy

Procedure: Show the ball/ toy to the child and then hide it in one of your hands while the child is still watching. Then, ask the child to point/ touch the hand that holds the object.  

This is a super easy and simple way to set the child up for success in memory games.

  1. Magic cup game

Materials required: Paper cups and a ball.

Procedure: Place two cups upside down and hide the ball in one of them while the child is watching. Now swap the cups slowly for the child to track the cup with the ball. Do only a single swap or about thrice, and ask the child to find the hidden ball. When the child spots it right, give the ball to the child and ask them to hide it in a cup and you do the guessing.

This is the next level in complexity.

(Note: You can increase the number of cups and colourful balls as your child progresses).

 3. Mystery box

Materials required: Waste carton box, 2-4 toys/ objects

Procedure: Take 2-4 familiar toys and drop them one at a time into the carton box while the child watches. You could ask the child to name each toy or label them yourself while you drop them. Once you have dropped all the toys, you can ask the child to recall the toys that were put inside the box. As the child recalls (by labelling), you can pick the toy/ object from the box and gives it to the child to arrange them the way he/she likes it.

(Note: You can increase the number of toys/ objects as your child progresses).

4. What’s missing

Materials required: 2-4 Toys/ Objects

Procedure: Step-1: Have about 3 familiar objects placed in front of the child. Have the child label the objects one after the other and for children in the preverbal stage, ask them to point as you label.  

Step-2: Now can ask the child to close their eyes. Remove any one object and ask the child to label which one is missing. For children in the preverbal stage have images of the same objects and have them point to the missing item instead of labelling.

(Note: You can increase the number of toys/ objects as your child progresses).

 5. Find the pair

Materials required: Identical pair picture cards - set of two or more.

Procedure: Place the cards in a row in a manner that the images go down and the back of the card which has no images is visible to the child. The task is to match the identical cards by flipping one at a time until the identical pair is found. This is an easy game that most of us would have played as children and is sure to be super fun when played together as a family!

Bonus tips to boost memory in children

  • Use all the senses while exposing the child to something new (an event, activity, toy etc).
  • Reduce distractions and noise in the background.
  • Break tasks into simpler steps.
  • Support good nutrition, exercise, and regular breaks to process something new.
  • Use bright colours, visuals, and gestures.
  • Repeat, practice, and be consistent.
  • Most importantly be patient.

We hope this blog helps you in advancing your child’s memory skills. Do let us know if you have a game in mind or how this blog helped you.



Deepa. S (Psychologist & Special Educator)

Chitra Thadathil (Speech Language Pathologist)










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