Short-Term Memory Loss in Kids

If your child is experiencing any kind of memory loss or problems retaining information, it could be a sign of a serious medical condition. In some cases, short-term memory problems have no real cause and can be difficult to diagnose. You should talk to your child's physician in order to find out the exact cause and best course of treatment.


A little boy sitting outside with his head in his hand. (Image: moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images)

It can be difficult to determine if your child is having problems with memory loss. He simply might not recall an event, confuse an event with something else or recall an event but not verbally express it. If your child is unable to recall important events, people or places on more than one occasion, there could be a problem.


The first sign of short-term memory loss is that your child cannot recall a particular event, person, place or thing that she should remember, even if you ask her repeatedly. If she has experienced a traumatic event such as a death or witnessed abuse, she might not be able to recall certain memories pertaining to that event.


Concussion, anti-anxiety medications, lead poisoning, post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma, mental disorders, stroke, malnutrition, drug use, diabetes and tumors of the brain all can cause short-term memory loss in your child. If your child has recently been hurt in an accident at home, play or school, it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible to rule out concussion, according to Medline Plus.


If there is significant memory loss, it could be possible that part of the brain is malfunctioning or damaged, such as from a stroke. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked or compromised, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A stroke can cause other impairments such as loss of brain activity, difficulty with speech and paralysis, in addition to memory loss.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In order to properly diagnose memory loss, your doctor might order several tests, including an MRI, CAT scan or blood work. Treatment could include regulating the dosage of anti-anxiety drugs. Controlling diabetes also can help with memory problems. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, occupational therapy along with behavioral therapy may help correct problems and prevent future complications.

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