Signs & Symptoms

Memory For Faces

Is your child unable to place that face?

Some children have difficulty remembering people’s names or recalling what people look like.

It may be that your child has known a group of children for a long time, either through sports or school, and your child still doesn’t know any of their names. It also could be that your child often tells you a story about a friend at school but cannot tell you his or her name.

Sometimes, children with these challenges become very confused if someone they know gets a haircut or wears glasses one day. If the person’s appearance changes at all, the child is no longer able to recognize him or her.

Sometimes, your child may space-out when meeting someone new. He or she may hide behind your leg or simply walk away when people are talking. Other children may get frustrated at recess or lunch when your child forgets who they are.

Family members may be offended when your child doesn’t remember Aunt Edna’s name or cannot identify one grandparent from another.

Many potential reasons may explain why your child would struggle to remember people’s faces or names. One significant issue that may explain why your child struggles with remembering faces could be a deficit in social skills.

In this case, your child may not be as engaged socially, so he or she does not focus as much on other people’s names or faces. This deficit in social skills could relate to poor perspective taking and empathy. A child with these challenges is likely to have a hard time making friends and interacting socially with peers.

What do challenges with Memory For Faces look like?

  • Struggling to recognize familiar faces?
  • Saying, “I can’t recall that face. Have I met her before?”
  • Having trouble remembering what people look like?
  • Sitting at the same table with kids all year and not remembering them?
  • Distracted when meeting new people?
  • Looking away when someone says, “Hi. How are you?”
  • Becoming confused and getting lost in large groups of people?
  • Failing to remember people but easily remembering Pi to the 30th place?
  • Avoiding other children?

Why is Memory For Faces happening?

General issues with names and faces could be in the following areas: visual memory, attention, or social skills. Visual Memory is the ability to remember something by looking at it. Someone who struggles with visual memory may have difficulty with games like memory, with recalling people or pictures, with recognizing familiar people, or with recalling landmarks. He or she may have been acquainted with people for a long time and may still forget their names. The child may sit with kids in school for a whole year and not remember who they are. He might be on a soccer team for a whole season and not remember anyone on the team. The child may get people confused, for example, thinking the school librarian is the principal or the recess monitor is the music teacher. When asked who he or she sat with at lunch today, the child may say, “I can’t remember.” In any of these examples, ‘memory for faces’ is an issue.

How can I manage Memory For Faces at home?

Get the class yearbook or class photo from last year, and post it in your home. Write the names of each child on the photo.

Have pictures of family members and friends that are labeled, and look at these with your child when you have a moment. “Oh look at Aunt Sally at the beach last summer, and there’s your cousin Tom, we’ll see them next month.”

Providing labeled pictures and visual reminders can help a child remember even when faces are hard.

If your child struggles with social skills such as perspective taking, empathy, and positive social interactions, this difficulty is worth looking into with an evaluation by a psychologist.

Children with social skill deficits have trouble with sharing, turn-taking, and listening attentively to peers. These issues may be a sign of an Autism Spectrum Disorder and, in this case, require assessment and treatment.

How can Clear Child Psychology help with Memory For Faces?

If your child is struggling with this symptom to the point that it is getting in the way of his or her learning, relationships, or happiness, it’s time to seek professional help.

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Our Free Discovery Session is a 20-minute consultation where we can talk one-on-one about the concerns and questions you have about your child.

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Our Assessments allow us to determine your child’s specific strengths and challenges. We can use this information to develop a customized support plan which includes: referrals

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Once we understand your child’s needs, we will help families get connected to the right specialists. No more guesswork, no more wasted time and resources.

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Our Coaching Packages allow us to continually support families as they continue their journeys. Parental coaching, life-skills practice, and school advocacy are just a few examples of ways we help.

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