Question: Why Is It Hard to Remember What I Study?
When it comes to studying my memory only seems to recall it in specific spaces. [I struggle with contextual learning.] If I decide to do homework at home, I struggle for an hour trying to figure out an equation I could easily do in a couple of minutes during class. If I read a chapter ahead at home then it becomes blurry in my mind at school and it stays blurry until I got home and before where it becomes back crystal clear. Sometimes it is enough if the place I am in has a similar atmosphere as where I learned it but that is not always the case.
Answer: Contextual Learning
Wow! This is such a great AutismQA! It is very interesting to me and something I do know a bit about.
The short version is that autistics often have a hard time with contextual learning. There was a study done a while back looking at this.
Autistics learning to speak looked at flash cards; such as a picture of a red apple. They learned that this is an apple and how to say apple. Later they saw variations of the same cards. An apple might be green, there might be a basket of apples with only the tops peeking out, or a red apple that had the middle eaten so that you could see mostly white flesh in the middle.
Compared to control groups the autistics did when recalling the names of the items. The study concluded that autistics are more likely to face difficulties with contextual learning.
Other studies of autism showed that this contextual learning also applies to the environment they learn in. In this study autistic fourth graders learned math using flashcards. When attempting to recall the information, autistics outside of the research environment did worse when compared to control groups.
There have been less studies of this in autism than in ADHD. I bring this up because the two often share learning similarities. In ADHD studies have shown that you trigger recall by creating mental and environmental recall cues you can recreate elsewhere. The few studies of this in autism suggest that similar methods may help autistics.
One of the best ways that I have found to create recall cues is to color code your notes. This is the method that I use and works very well for me. You can find lots of color coding tips, tricks, and systems on Google. Many of the tips and tricks for studying with ADHD work well for autistics. Changing how you study may help. You can find tips and tricks on Google to find what works best for you.
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