Cricket, Cricket. Yup, that is the sound of my brain when word recall struggles happen! I forget words all the time, like mid-sentence, poof, it's gone. Sometimes I forget words and replace them with others, and I don't realize it. The other day I said, "We are expecting a lot of sky water over the weekend" (embarrassing).
Today we will talk about what word recall is, why it affects people with dyslexia, and give you three simple ways to help decrease those pesky little mind crickets.
Before we go any further, we want to make a quick note here. You will always struggle with word recall. There is no cure for forgetting words. The goal is to recognize the struggle and create ways to reduce and manage it.
What is Word Recall/Word Retrieval?
Word recall (also called word retrieval) happens when you are speaking (or writing); your mind pulls out the words you need to communicate your point.
Why do dyslexics struggle with Word Recall?
One of the major strengths that dyslexics have is our ability to use dynamic reasoning. We can draw in data from several places and create inferences based on that data. What does dynamic reasoning have to do with word recall struggles? Regular brain functions can be interrupted when our minds simultaneously process a lot of information.
An example: When I cook a new dinner recipe, my brain usually does many things simultaneously. It's figuring out how to reduce the number of dishes I have to do, double-checking I am reading tablespoons and teaspoons correctly, managing the timing for everything, and more. When my partner comes in and asks which bottle of wine he can open, my word recall hits hard! I will ask, "Can you open the _____?" and it's just gone. My brain can not remember the name (but it can picture where the bottle is located and the picture on the label).
3 Ways to Reduce Dyslexic Word Recall Struggles
Slow Down your Mind:
Dyslexic brains move FAST (which is incredible), but sometimes that speed works against us. If you're struggling to find the right word, check to see if your mind is racing. A racing mind often happens in business meetings where new ideas are tossed around or in moments of excitement (or overstimulation). Take a beat, slow your mind (a deep breath always helps me), and then pick up where you were.
Find a friend you can Trust:
This one is mainly for those who have to give presentations to others. Talking in front of a group is hard work that feels stressful. Those stress feelings can lead to struggles with word recall, which in turn cause more stress (and embarrassment). One way to decrease this is by presenting with someone who knows you have dyslexia. When you start to struggle, have them jump in. If this is an area you struggle with, we recommend you try and practice with your partner in advance to spot potential problem spots.
Take Care of Yourself:
With most things dyslexic, our struggles are often worse when we are not caring for ourselves. So, reduce the likelihood that you will struggle by getting a good night's rest, asking for the accommodations you need, getting physically active (we love a hot girl walk), and listening to your body's needs. The goal is to set yourself up for success, so you struggle less.