[PS-1.9] The lived experience of memory in adults with dyslexia

Smith-Spark, J. & Lewis, E. G.

London South Bank University

The memory problems associated with dyslexia are well-documented under laboratory conditions. However, less is known about how these problems manifest themselves in everyday situations and how individuals with dyslexia may compensate for memory difficulties by using tools and technology. To explore these issues, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 university students with diagnoses of dyslexia. The interviewees were asked about their lived experiences with different memory systems and the ways in which they tried to compensate for any weaknesses that they identified. The questions probed experiences with short-term and working memory, long-term memory (both semantic and episodic), and prospective memory. A thematic analysis was carried out on the interviews. Interviewees identified problems across different memory systems, affecting the quality of their memory and their confidence in it. Ongoing lists, mobile phones, and electronic reminders were identified as ways in which they supported their memory. They also called upon friends and family to support their memory recall. These data highlight the everyday memory difficulties experienced by adults with dyslexia across different situational contexts (university, work, and home life). An understanding of the broader impact of dyslexia on day-to-day cognition can be used to better inform reasonable adjustments and support arrangements.