The article examines the causes of memory underdevelopment in preschoolers with mental retardation, memory development at a given age. Difficulties that arise in a child with mental retardation in the process of voluntary memorization. This article provides the planning of purposeful correctional work for the development of memory in children with mental retardation.
Keywords: impaired mental function, voluntary memory, self-regulation, correction.
At the stage of schooling, children with CRD, as a rule, have difficulties. This is primarily due to the difficulties in the formation of cognitive processes in children of this category. According to a large number of studies, memory underdevelopment plays a decisive role in cognitive impairment in this developmental disability. The educational system of children with mental retardation provides for their full-fledged mastering of the general education program in the same volume, which is assumed for their peers with the norm. But the achievement of such a result is possible only with the construction of purposeful correctional work to develop memory in children with mental retardation, as well as a constant search for further ways to improve it.
According to various psychological, pedagogical and medical studies, memory impairment is a characteristic symptom of CRD. But, at the same time, the underdevelopment of memory in each specific case of the presence of a deviation differs from another. With the relative safety of some mnemonic processes and types of memory, others can be affected to a much stronger degree and vice versa. The causes of memory underdevelopment in preschoolers with CRD have been the subject of study by many authors. Such as V. S. Mukhina, P. I. Zinchenko, A. A. Smirnov and others. As a result, it was found that the causes of this phenomenon can act as a variety of medical factors, for example, somatic diseases suffered by the child and their consequences, disturbances in the rate of maturation of brain structures. Various psychological and social factors also have a significant impact on the development of memory in preschoolers. As a result, there is a significant weakening of the rate of memorization and reproduction of information, a decrease in the volume of memorized material.
Together with the above factors, the researchers note that memory impairments in children with CRD arise, in many respects, in connection with the peculiarities of their organization of their own activities. Since children with mental retardation experience significant difficulties, if necessary, rationally and competently organize their activities. In addition, the need for correct selection and use of methods and techniques of memorization causes serious difficulties for preschoolers. According to the studies of various authors, a large number of types of memory have been identified according to various classifications, criteria and features. The first type of memory that appears and begins to develop in a child is involuntary. One of the first scientists to describe this kind of memory. There were P. I. Zinchenko and A. A. Smirnov.
Until the senior preschool age, the child does not need to remember, he does not set himself such a goal. But by the age of 5–6, memorizing this or information can become the goal of activity. Under the guidance of an adult, children try to specifically remember the material, remember it at a certain moment, think about ways to memorize and retain information. And they also try to reproduce it as accurately as possible at a certain moment. Thus, a preschooler develops an arbitrary memory, the appearance of which is associated with the fact that the child teaches to subordinate his actions to a certain goal, to control his activity and behavior. Speech also begins to perform the function of regulation. The entire period of preschool childhood is accompanied by a gradual transition from the predominance of involuntary memory to voluntary. According to the results of observations of preschoolers with mental retardation, there is a clear decrease in the level of memory development already at the stage of the predominance of involuntary memory. What their peers with a developmental norm remember naturally, in the course of their daily activities, children with mental retardation can only learn in the process of purposeful work with them. This is also determined by the fact that preschoolers with mental retardation are characterized by a low level of performance, they quickly get tired, and refuse to complete the task. In the process of work, they are overly passive, or extremely excitable. The whole process of cognition is accompanied by a low level of activity and a low speed of receiving, storing and reproducing information. It is the decrease in the level of memory development that is the leading symptom in the violation of cognitive activity [1, p. 75].
If we talk about schooling, then at first, when mastering the material, the leading role is given to the involuntary memorization of the material. Since in the process of this the child manages to learn what is most interesting and meaningful. It is in the process of active activity as a result of the work of involuntary memory that the child manages to assimilate a large amount of important material. The main difference between children with developmental disabilities and their peers with a developmental norm was the unequal attitude towards the goal that stood in front of them. For preschoolers with disabilities, it was characteristic that they did not try to remember the proposed material, did not look for ways to achieve this, and after completing the task, they also did not try to reproduce it. Even if this happened, the actions of the children were subordinated to a completely different purpose. That is, preschoolers did not try to remember and reproduce the words they had already heard, but invented new ones [3, p. 74].
Involuntary memory, as already noted, is an ontogenetic earlier type of memory than voluntary. But its development occurs throughout the preschool age. However, by older preschool age, normally, voluntary memory should play a leading role. Since it is assumed that all the activities of the child should be purposeful, be regulated and controlled, like all the behavior of the child in general. The entire development of preschoolers with DPD lags behind the norm, on average, by 2–3 years. This also applies to the level of development of memory and mnemonic activity. If we talk about preschoolers with preserved development, then by the age of preschool age they have already developed the processes of mediated memorization and conscious reproduction of material. In children with mental retardation, this most often occurs only by the end of primary school age without specially organized work. Most often, the difficulties that arise in a child with CRD in the process of voluntary memorization are associated with the fact that the child does not fully understand the set goal of the activity, that is, he does not realize that the material needs to be memorized, does not understand what this means. Sometimes the same situation is observed in children with a developmental norm at the time of the beginning of schooling. Thus, due to the fact that children do not understand the task assigned to them, they cannot correctly choose the appropriate and effective techniques and methods of memorization. That is, they do not know what is the best way to proceed — to speak the text out loud, memorize it in parts or repeat the information a large number of times. In this case, the productivity of activity is practically absent and mnemonic activity is based only on involuntary memorization [2, p. 230].
Preschoolers with DPD have serious difficulties in focus, self-regulation and self-control of activity. Children often see the purpose of mnemonic activity only in performing a series of actions, and not in achieving a result. But, high productivity of memorizing information is possible only with a developed ability to control their activities, behavior, and regulate the correctness of reproduction of material [2, p. 235].
Thus, we can conclude that all types of memory and mnemonic processes are impaired in preschool children with mental retardation. This is determined, first of all, by the characteristic features of the activity of children with mental retardation — insufficient self-regulation and self-control of activity, inability to set a goal and achieve the desired result. Children have not formed the concept that the purpose of the activity is precisely to memorize the material and in the future to reproduce it. In addition, children do not know how to focus on completing an assignment and direct their efforts towards it. Even with a set goal and a desire to memorize the material, children are not able to independently choose the methods and techniques for memorizing the material.
Preschoolers with mental retardation differ significantly from their peers with the norm in development, both in the volume of material that they are able to assimilate and in the accuracy of its reproduction. For a long time, involuntary memorization predominates in children with CRD. The development of voluntary memory is possible only through purposeful work to correct memory and mnemonic activity in older preschool children with mental retardation.
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