I would like more information about dysnomial i.e. how do u get it? How do you stop getting it? Why do I have it? What are some ways to improve it? What are some problems of having it? Are there any good things for having it? Who do you go to, to get help? Also who should know that I have it?
Good questions and googling dysnomia doens’t help much. Even Wikipedia didn’t have a listing for it (I added the one I have here).
I have two theories:
1. like dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia you are born with dysnomia (you might inherit it genetically from someplace in your family tree). If this is the case it is the way your brain is and there is no way to get rid of it, just learn ways to compensate for its effects.
2. It is a temporary condition following a brain insult or some other situation that disturbs memory. I’ve read about side effects of traumatic brain injury or ECT or other situations where one’s brain is changed in some way and it would seem to me that name recognition might possibly be part of this.
Now my experience: I’m 53 years old and I have to say, as one gets older remembering names (and everything else) becomes harder. I feel for anyone who has this problem as a younger person as it make the social part of life much more difficult than it needs to be.
Please let me know what you find in your research Casie, so we can update and expand our definition here.
Posted on 09 Mar 2005 at 11:41 am3Donald B. Strobe
My wife (age 75) has just been diagnosed with aphasic dysnomia and is undergoing treatment by a very good speech patholist at the University of Michigan. Let’s keep comments from folks who have this problem coming so that we can help one another with treatments.
Are there different levels of severity of dysnomia? I’ve always had issues with words since I was young with my family and friends correcting me. I still get corrected now. How do you find out if you have dysnomia?
Faith: I’m sure a set of neuro-psych tests done by a psychologist would pick it up. Or, maybe there’s a very specific test for it that’s different from the more general ones, I’m not sure but asking any psycholgist should get you started in the right direction.
This sounds like me. I attend school at a local community college and one of my current classes is called intro to the exceptional learner. I focuses on teaching future teachers how to identify and help LD students. After being in the class for 7 weeks now, I think I have Dysnomia. What do I do? Who can I contact for help?
Courtney: You should talk to a psychologist about being tested.
But, and this is not to belittle your concern, sometimes when we hear a description of something like this we relate to it yet the label doesn’t apply. Everyone has a hard time with these kinds of memory tasks at one time or another. Many times problems like these are made worse by being tired, overwhelmed, depressed, or in some other state of mind that changes recall.
A battery of neuro-psych tests and discussion with a psychologist or psychiatrist will sort that out.
Thanks for this information. I am a SENCO(special needs co-ordinator) at a primary school and have twins in a class who have word finding problems and mild learning difficulties. They are 5, but i have worried about them. I now think i can help them with you comments and help. thanks
I suffer from dysnomia and sequential order dysfunction as a result of a lightning injury. Stress is the biggest factor that triggers episodes for me. I take an anti anxiety medication for it and it helps a lot. I also try to do number puzzles and cross words. Since my Neurologyst told me to do them I have noticed that it is helping especially with number recalling… I now remember not only my phone number but a few others. Which is huge for me. I hope this helps someone else.
I have not been diagnosed w/ dysnomia by a professional. But, I guess you could say I have diagnosed myself. I also work a lot of crossword puzzles and I have also noticed a difference since I’ve started doing more of them. It is very frustrating when you can’t remember a persons name, or a place you’ve visited recently. I’ve had this problem for as long as I can remember. My best friend calls it “filling in the blanks”, when she has to remind me of a name, or thing I can’t remember while I am telling her something. We used to laugh about it, but the older I get the worse it gets. So,it’s not so funny anymore. If anyone has any info on other ideas that might help the problem, please post it.
Although a neuro-physcologist had diagnosed me with dysnomia he didn’t make any recommendation for treatment. My PCP sent me to a speech pathologist who told me to cut myself some slack that it happens to people our age. I don’t think at 44 I should be having this much trouble…to the point that at times other people have to finish my sentences because I continually use the wrong word. Nor, have my daughter correct me when I tell her to get the bread out of the microwave when it is in the toaster. Does anyone know a good pathologist in Atlanta, GA?
I’d like to say that i’m 19 and have had trouble with dysnomia forever my dysnomia has caused not only problems with words and names but with things that i do, like if i go to the store and buy some thing, then put it in my closet the next day i wont even remember were it came from. it’s very hard becouse my case is so severe. In high school i reached a point of depresion becouse my school would not follow my i.e.p. so I would end up failling classes even though i did all my work becouse i’d couldn’t remember information that or i would put down the wrong answers, but now that i’m in college i’m doing great becouse my college has a program for people WITH DYSNOMIA, and other learning disabilities were students can go and take tests or work on there memory skills and i’m proud to say i’m dooing very well becouse of it.
I was Dx’ed with dysnomia at a young age. Some of the things that helped me were saying the alphabet backwards. Saying the sounds of the alphabet forward – backwords. Crossword puzzles dont help me alot as I have some spelling issues. The other thing that helped a bit was to make things that have instructions and follow the instructions(ie, Lego kits) I am actually kind looking for other ways to help know as some of the things I used to do have become ruten and do not help as much anymore.
My daughter has Dysnomia. It is a breakdown between the storage and that retrieval processes of the brain. I recommend the video “How Difficult Can This Be?” Its a PBS video…you can get it at a library…great resource and will help you a lot! The author is Dr Richard D. Lavoie
Wow- It is great to read that other people have this- and great to see your spelling. It is so hard to blog when you can’t spelland leave out words etc. I am a 57 year old women diagnosied with dyslexia in sixth grade ADHD 12 years ago. Dysnomia has been a problem all my life although this is the first time I have looked it up . I lived fairly comfortably with it in my earlier years. I could fake it when I didn’t know someones name by saying honey or something. I am a minister and pastors wife and Hospice Chaplain. I was 7 years in my last church and didn’t know the names of half the people most of the time. Now we have moved to another church. I am a good preacher, have a lot of vision, but when I lead a meeting or teach I have know idea what the persons name is so I can’t call on them or refer to them. When I try it is usually a disaster and I am totaly humiliated I work for Hospice and have to deal with lot of names. We hire new staff all the time plus I carry a case load of 30-35 patients that’s 30 to 35 names which change as people die and we add more. I am good at my work embarassed most of the time infront of the staff – it is really stressful. With the Grace of God I managed to go back to college at 32 and completed a masters in divinity at 50. Now at 57 I can’t remember names from one minute ot the next. They might as well not even tell me. I was hoping there was some kind of answer. Oh well – Let’s keep looking.
I have a niece that was diagnosed with dysnomia in the first grade. She is a very successful highschool student that has enrolled in vigorous courses and has been on the honor roll every semester thus far. She is currently thinking of college plans. Does anyone have college-support information or specific scholarship listings for students with dysnomia?
I was involved in a car accident. I thought I was fine, but it turns out I may have had a small concussion. Since that time, when typing, I frequently misspell words or use a wrong but similar word (info for intro etc). This happens constantly. It happens occasionally when speaking although very infrequently. Does anybody have any experience with a condition like this or advice?
Kate: I have experience like that but it’s not from a concusion, it’s from a learning disability I was born with. However, the effects are much the same.
A good spelling checker will help as well as getting into the habit of proofreading the things you write. You might even consider having your computer read what you’ve just written back to you. This helps many people who can’t recognize and so fix their mistakes.
Our six year old son who is autistic also suffers from dysnomia, tourettes and has severe speech delays in both expressive and receptive language. It can be very frustrating teaching him anything because he seemingly knows something one minute and then he’s forgotten it the next. It was so good to find out about dysnomia because a lot of people said he was just mucking around and pretending he didn’t know. But we could see the frustration and anxiety on his face. His dysnomia is severe. He forgets things that happened just a few minutes ago as well as long term things. There really is a lack of information on this disorder though. I googled it and barely found anything.
Plus, for many people with Autism (not high functioning or Asperger’s), language impairment goes with the territory of marked social difficulities and trouble with “regulation of behavior.” The delay in expressive language in autism is one main reason why years ago some autistic kids were mistakenly diagnosed with mental retardation.
My mother and I have dysnomia. We are always calling out the wrong name for a common object or cannot come up with the name at all (light switch, microwave, etc). I cannot remember peoples names for the life of me. I look at a close friend and have to concentrate really hard to remember their name, and sometimes it won’t come to me. I don’t remember how to get to different places when driving either. I used to drive for UPS, and I can read maps well. My husband is tolerant and helps me out when he can, he understands that I have this disability. I am a mechanical engineer -I’m great with numbers (I got my degree going nights for 16 years). I’m sure mine is inherited. There is no reason to be embarressed about this, but it is frustrating.
I’m not certain if this diagnosis was put into my neuropsych evaluation – but it is most assuredly what I have acquired through a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (hitting my head in a car accident) in late 2002.
I have difficulty “finding” words often for common everyday things. I know that stress is a large contributing factor for me. I have thought of getting some sort of disability alert card to give to authorities in the event of being stopped for minor traffic violations/inquiries, etc (as I have been faced with police officers becoming angry, hostile, & suspicious of me when I cannot speak of basic things upon questioning by them. Just being questioned initiates enough stress response that I quickly begin loosing all ability to find my words. The more they question – the less I am able to respond – no, I am not criminal in any sort of way… lol).
I find that I simply have to tell people that I have a brain injury & need a moment to find my words. I can actually see/visualize the thing I am speaking of – but cannot speak the word. Often, I speak the entirely incorrect word – which makes for humourous moments for others.
I’ve found that the greatest reducer of difficulties for me is to keep my overall stress level down. The more calm & relaxed I am in general, the less I seem to struggle with word finding.
Seriously, I always think that dealing productively with stress is a key to most things. Great illustrative story about getting stopped by police.
Sometimes just letting someone know I’ve temporarily forgotten their name relieves the stress (of being found out that the name comes almost right afterwards. I’m not comparing my difficulty (at times) with “names on demand” with your tbi.
You make a great point and have a nice attitude about dealing with any challenges life throws.
Let’s face it – 99% of life is what you make it – only about 1% is by chance. Attitude/outlook are what separate the “fortunate” from the “unfortunate” (lucky/unlucky).
A true pessimist would look at many of the circumstances I face in life & try to convince me of my misfortune (how “UNlucky”) I am. Really, the contrary is true. I have serious disability needs – many of the cognitive & executive functioning. Fortunately for me I am resilient, optimistic, pretty darn intelligent, & fiercely committed to living the life I always imagined.
It has been a long & sometimes treacherous road towards “normalcy” for me since my injuries. I thank God that I still see the humour in many of the moments I face throughout any given day.
I believe that, worse than my “loosing my words” is the damage that prevents me from being able to reason & work out a question, problem, situation without stepping outside of the moment & giving myself time to be able to fully process the information given me. I was always a very decisive person. Now I lack the ability to be that same thing again – for now at least. It has been 4 years.
” 99% of life is what you make it.” Aisha, amen! Thanks for sharing your attitude and way you work your circumstances. This is definitely not pollyanna stuff. It’s one thing to embrace an “attitude is everything” when things seem to be going your way. Working that out in the face of real difficulties as you do is inspiring to me, to others (if we have the needed attitude, make the right choices).
“… a very decisive person. Now I lack the ability to be that same thing again -”
It sounds to me like you’re still that decisive person, just needing some additional processing time to be so.
I suffer from dysnomia when I eat foods with nitrates or nitrites, soy and green peas (one of my favorite vegetables, unfortunately.) I have only discovered most of this in the last year. I have known about soy since graduate school. I have two master’s degrees and 38 hours of post-graduate work, yet I felt tremendously stupid when I was teaching, and could not retrieve words or form concepts before I discovered the problem foods. I also had burning mouth syndrome from propylene glycol in diet and skin products.
I have just found out that a student in my first grade classroom was diagnosed with Dysnomia about a year or so ago. Her parents have been so proactive and working with her on speech and motor skills since she was 3. Now that they can put a name on things, they seem to be even more proactive in trying their best to help her. As a teacher I want the best for her and am trying to learn how I can modify my instruction to help her better? Any suggestions out there about best teaching practices, or skills that help? I really don’t see any differences between her and her peers, but I hope that if I am proactive in this and pass the techniques on to future teachers, maybe we can give her a boost in a positive direction.
Posted on 17 Oct 2007 at 11:16 pm35Richard Mellott
Thanks for having a forum for…um, us who suffer from dysnomia. I’ve described my problem hundreds of times to my wife, why I have trouble remembering names of musicians, names of people I’ve met, and how it’s defined a large part of my lifestyle. On the wife’s side,she calls people by the wrong name, even though she remembers musicians via their music. In that area, name remembering skills are something she brags about. I told her I live in the moment, not by choice, but by necessity. I hope you get that, she isn’t convinced yet.
I’m so glad to find that I am not alone with this self-diagnosed dysnomia. I agree it is genetic as my mother has it also. This has been a lifelong condition for me. I am 34. I recently graduated from college. It isn’t easy when you can’t recall names or nouns, you just try to deal with it and it’s very frustrating. Once I almost didn’t get a job because I couldn’t recall my own home phone number to the interviewer and she was convinced I was lying. I only got the job when she called a family member of mine who confirmed everything. Then there was the time I went shoe shopping at a local store and couldn’t recall the noun “shoe” although I knew exactly what a shoe is and it’s purpose. These events could be funny if they weren’t so tragic. Tragic meaning I can’t stop these events from reoccuring, except by strategy. I now take a file folder to interviews documenting my phone number and other critical information. I repeat what I’m going to the store to buy before I go if I’m having a particularly bad day. Some days are worse than others. In these days of information and technology there should be something to help us so we wouldn’t have to struggle so hard. I wish you all the best.
I have been searching high and low for the name of what’s happening to me. I’m positive my mother and I shard dysnomia because we both can’t recall names and objects when we are talking. We are both expressive and can become animated when we talk, but it’s when we are upset, bothered, annoyed or flustered that we lose the basic words from our every day vocabulary.
A trick I stumbled upon is if I’m struggling to find the word but can picture the object, I close my eyes to block out everything else but that one object and within 15 seconds the word comes to me. I get a lot of strange looks, but I could care less what others think.
My husband and I are both perfectionists, so thist makes it worse because it’s frustrating for the both of us. For the most part he is patient and understanding, but only when we aren’t up against a deadline, and that’s usually when I’m the most fatigued and it acts up.
I also notice that when I’m speaking rapidly on the better days when it’s not happening to me at all, the other problem takes it place where I will type or talk in jumbled words. IE: Just now I said to him, “Is it me or just is, Spring around the corner?” That one make him screw up his face like I’m retarded and I get upset enough to swear out loud at what’s happening to me.
Double-hatter here. My specialty is assessment of learning problems and I too am often at a loss for a word or more precisely, the right word. Often I invent my own, and family and friends have come to know that rubbage means either garbage or rubbish, and truckish means I’m tired. In fact, when I’m truckish, I speak the most rubbage
Interestingly, I don’t have a problem listening to others and being able to anticipate the ideal word that might best encapsulate what they are trying to express. Inconsistency is hallmark of learning problems and tends to stymie all concerned.
Fortunately, the brain is considered to be a plastic organ, meaning that through practise and vigilence, we can improve or at least maintain what we’ve got. The trick is to make it fun or else the time we spend worrying and labouring over memory improvement can be more dysfunctional than the memory problem itself.
My suggestion is to seek out enjoyable language-based activities, especially if you don’t have access to/can’t afford a speech-language pathologist. For children, the traditional Memory games are good provided kids verbalize the words on the pictures. Games like Outburst Junior is another possibility for older youngsters. For us adults, there are the new fangled Brain Age computer games, or as some people have found, crossword puzzles are good. For others, reading for pleasure is beneficial, provided active reading strategies are employed (e.g., making a list of character names, places, treaties, dates, etc.) and people make an effort to retell the information.
Personally, I choose not to worry about my verbal faux-pas. On the lighter side, I figure I’m doing my part to expand the English-language vocabulary, and I know I bring a lot of mirth and merriment to others. On the realistic side, when I’m having a bad day, I explain my verbal ineptitude. I find most people respect self-advocacy and patiently wait out my verbal meanderings and self-corrections.
My 5 year old daughter was diagnosed with a “developmental delay” about a year ago and after reading about dysnomia I wonder if this is what she suffers from. She does very well in school-academically, but when she opens her mouth- we struggle to understand what she is trying to say- not because of her speech, but because the words that she uses are very basic and it’s hard to understand exactly what she is talking about. (Ex: She is trying to tell us about about a tree and she says “big over there” as she points.) The doctors say that she just cannot seem to find the words and with time this will improve. Other than that, she is amazing socially- but people always think that she is younger because of her speech. Does anybody know if this would fit into the “dysnomia category?”
Monica, my guess is that most kids like your daughter would be classified with a developmental delay and while it might be upsetting to know that she’s more intelligent than her choice of words would demonstrate, her language will no doubt catch up with her.
I’m no psychologist so can’t be sure about this but dysnomia is many times associated with older folks who have had stokes that have affected their cognition.
Thanks Richard. It’s just what I needed to hear. I know that her language will catch up with her, but it’s so hard to see her struggle just to say a few words. Especially when she seems to have so much that she wants to say to us!
I will ask her neurologist about Dysnomia being associated with older folks- I didn’t know that. My daughter also went to a child psychologist for an IQ test & the Dr was the first one to bring dysnomia to our attention. It must not be as uncommon as we thought!
Monica, I wasn’t implying that it’s only associated with older folks, just that there are so many other developmental issues that can cause language delays I’ve seen the label used less with kids than adults who are already fully developed and might lose these skills because of illness. Do let me know what your neurologist says. Thanks.
i’m 41yrs old and found out i had 7 different ld’s when i was 20yrs old i’m trying to keep my job and finding it difficult to do so the stats they want me to keep are really difficult for me to do and i feel like theyre going to fire me any minute i did inform them of my ld’s but they say there is nothing they can do i work for the largest PBM in america and they have lawyers working hard on their side i know of the ADA Law i worked as a sign language interpreter and have a college degree in it and had to learn about it in class when i went to college i had BVR on my side to assist me and they informed me then if i had any problems keeping a job or getting a job that they were a phone call away when i called them they got rid of all my paper work and wont retest me to help me keep my job plus i’m visually impaired and had to use BVRVI and they wont help me either BVR said i had to go thru them and BVRVI said they completed their job and wont assist me why have laws in place when they dont protect the poor who cant afford a lawyer the ld’s i have when diagnosed are dyslexia, dyscalcula, dysnomia, audio perceptual difficulty, comprehension difficulty, eye hand coordination difficulty and ADD and let me tell you it is getting more difficult for me to keep up especially with all this technology how do i get help to keep my job any sugesstions????……my typing is lousy i dont use commas periods or cap letters—sorry:(
Lately my symptoms have become really frustrating. I am 40 years old and I will forget words as I am speaking…I am so glad to have found the “name” of my condition…the weird thing is that I am a Spanish teacher – I began learning the language 10 years ago…spelling is ok in spanish because it is a phonetic language but I am sure the disability slows my second language learning
I am so glad to have found this blog. I’ve never replied to any blogs before, so this is all new to me.
I was involved in a near-fatal car crash 17-1/2 years ago. I broke every bone in my face, and many other inuries, but the trauma to my head, caused me to lose my sence of smell and taste. They come back once in a while, but I don’t always recognize what I’m tasting or smelling. I mention this, because one of my many doctors said the damage was due to the fact that there was such a hard impact to the front of my head. From what I’ve read about Dysnomia, that is also the part of the brain that controls this “memory” thing.
I find myself, quite often, trying to find the right word. I can visualize what I’m trying to say, and I know that I know the word, but I can’t find it. It can be a person’s name, a place, or just about anything. And it doesn’t matter how “old” the memory is …. I can go to lunch and come back to work, and not remember the name of the place I just ate. Well, I “remember” it, I just can’t “say” it. I’ve found that if I go through the alphabet in my mind, a b c d etc., when I get to the letter that the word starts with, I can usually grab it as I pass by that letter.
There are times when I’m talking, and I’ll insert the wrong word. My boss is the only one who actually corrects me, and luckily he does it in a fun way. No one else has ever mentioned when I’ve done this. Either they aren’t paying attention, or don’t want to hurt my feelings by telling me I’ve used the wrong word.
I have had no idea what’s been wrong with me, as I was never diagnosed as having had brain trauma. Friends and family all just tell me it’s normal to forget names and words once in a while. Maybe so. But this isn’t “once in a while”. And it scares me, because it seems to be getting worse.
I used to love to write … short stories and things like that. Not for publishing or anything, just because I have always had a love for words. Now I can’t stand to write any more, because I can’t describe things. The words aren’t there. I can visualize everything, but I can’t tell you what I’m seeing. I guess you can see my love for writing, I don’t know whento stop!
So what kind of doctor should I contact, to see if this is what’s wrong with me, and to hopefully send me down a road that will help me get past this? Or at least to learn to work around it a little better. As Aisha mentioned before, I have found the humor in all that I have been through. Including this “word association” bit. And I do tend to laugh it off, but I’d like to know that there is a better way of dealing with this.
Thanks for having this blog, and sorry I wrote so much ……
Donna: I’m delighted you wrote so much. I hope you’ll write more. Your writing and recollections are a pleasure to read. Of course, it’s not a pleasure to have gone through what you’ve you’ve gone through, but your ability to find just the right words in the comment above is right on the money.
I don’t mean to belittle your dysnomia, except that there is no evidence of it in your writing. As a matter of fact, there is no evidence of struggle at all in your writing; you might have taken an hour or 10 minutes to write that comment, it shows no strain.
The only name and/or word retreival problems I have are the ones that come from being 56 and remembering how quickly my mind used to pull words out and now how much of a struggle that is. I say this not to tell you that it’s all part of getting older, only that I experience a bit of what you do so I have empathy.
Many years ago when I was consulting I taught a young man (25 maybe) who had undergone a traumatic brain injury how to use a computer and in the process, how to use a simple writing tool on the computer to record his thoughts. In the process we worked on spelling and syntax and many basic writing skills. This was a young man who had graduated from Yale and was on his way to a successful life. A car accident changed his trajectory.
The part about working with him that really bothered me was that he had a lingering memory of himself before his accident, of a time when his brain worked a lot better. That frustration was almost impossible for me to be around. It just killed me. As a person with dyslexia, I too had a hard time expressing myself when I was younger and at times felt the classic frustration many of us feel when we can’t express the complexity of our thinking because our writing skills are so poor. But, compared with this young man, and in a different sense, you, my frustration seems petty.
Still, I can relate and I’m delighted you chose to make your first blog comment here. Please feel free to comment more, any time.
Hello everyone! I am a 54 year old female with dysnomia. I was in a car accident in 2003 where a I was flipped upside down and trapped in my convertible. I began having problems at work and home following the accident. Even though an MRI did not show any real brain tramma I was tested by a Neuropsychologist with a PHD and found to have dysnomia. I continued to have problems with my memory (mostly short term) and getting my words out. They are always on the tip of my tongue but someone else has to finish them for me. These disabilities never took place prior to the accident. This disability caused me to lose my job eventually. It seemed that for some reason no one liked me on the job once I began having these problems. There was constant whispering going on behind my back and I was moved to another position. I proved again that I was still able to perform on the job, but it seemed as if they were holding something against me. Most of my friends told me my personality had changed (not for the good). Due to other illnesses I retired on disability this past February. Like some other people, my primary doctor tried to say that this was normal for someone my age. I totally disagree, but just let it go. He was supposed to test me on a regular basis with questions and so forth but he never has. My neuropsychologist suggested I go to the Cameron Brain Center at the Ohio State University Hospital to obtain treetment. I was not able to do that because of the hours I worked. Maybe now that I am retired I will have the time to do it. This is the most frustrating thing that has ever happened to me in my life. I forget things I did yesterday or things that were said yesterday, a week ago, a month ago. I have to write everything down. I have to set alarms for appointments. Sometimes I still have to call to validate appointments more than 2 times. I wish they would come out with a medication to aide in this illness.
Sharon: I’m so sorry this has happened to you, both the injury and the emotional roller coaster at work. A head injury can certainly change a person’s personality but I would hope that your co-workers would be sensitive to what you’ve gone through and attempt to work with you as you are now, not as you were before your accident.
The head of the English department at my wife’s school had extensive surgery to remove a large brain tumor. The surgery saved her life but changed her personality radically which initially was tough for members of her department and other teachers at the school to handle. However, over time they learned to appreciate who she is now, not who she was then.
I hope you’ll take the time visit Ohio State and talk with a neurologist there. That will give you some comfort and possibly a treatment.
Thanks for being brave enough to post, we’re rooting for you.
Today we had our 8 year old son go through a thorough evaluation with a psychologist because he was having some difficulties with reading and with writing. As parents, we saw/see him struggle every day and wanted to be able to do what we could as parents to make reading/writing/learning easier. The teachers always agreed that there were some areas where he needed help, which he would get with a one on one reading coach (learning sight words only, I don’t think that phonics based reading is used). But we felt like there was something more going on and with upcoming Iowa Test of Basic Skills, we decided that we needed to take some kind of action. These tests (ITBS) are plum full of reading/writing/comprehension and then to top it off they are timed.
So to make a long story short, I wish we would have had this evaluation a couple of years ago. Oh my goodness, we could have approached so many things differently. His primary diagnosis is dysnomia (I have not found much info either) and secondary diagnosis is dyslexia. Per the Doctor’s recommendations, we will look for a phonics based reading tutor in our area and we will meet with the school to come up with a 5/4 plan(?). If anyone else has any other suggestions about the kinds of things we can do to help our son have a successful learning career, please let us know.
Here’s more on the history of 504 plans: 504 plans.
The “plan,” which is the result of meetings of his teachers, a psychologist, and you, is an IEP (individualized education plan) for your son that should make clear what the school’s assumptions are about where your son is now, what his testing means, and what their plan is to help him strengthen his weaknesses while staying in the curriculum.
The reading tutor should not only work with him on phonics but also on study skills: ways to use his study time more effectively, ways to take notes or use a tape recorder or both and more.
All of this is good news for you and your son.
The other piece of this is your son’s self esteem. He’s not a broken machine needing fixing, he’s a human being with feelings so balancing the remedial efforts with non-academic experience to keep him feeling good is essential. That’s your job as the school will no doubt focus on the academic remediation.
And, don’t feel bad that this diagnosis has been late in coming. There is hysterical focus on early identification of problems but you’re doing fine by starting work now.
Stay calm, keep your son happy, and know that human beings are resilient. As you learn how to navigate all of this stuff you’ll do fine as will your son.
Keri and Richard
My daughter was diagnosed with Dysnomia in 4th grade, she is know in 6th grade. The doctor said she is border dyslexia. She also has numerous other medical problems.
I have so many problems with the school not helping her. She has a 504 which the teachers have problems following. She can not spell, read , comprehend, and has trouble in math. She can not follow a list of task. If I hand her a 3 objects to put away I have no idea where I will find them. The Doctor at the University of Iowa said no time test. When she takes the Iowa Test of Basic Skills they take her to the side and give her the test.
Learning Disabilities Association of Iowa is having a conference next week. I’m hoping to learn more about Dysnomia. I contacted Senator Harkins office in Des Moines Iowa and she was able to help me alot as for as finding organizations to help me.
Richard when you said: find out what the school plan is to strenghten their weakness. All I hear from the school is we have no idea what dysnomia is. I’m afraid when she gets older she will give up and quit school, because she gets to far behind.
Deb: If the school has a 504 plan they must have an idea of what your daughter’s strengths and weaknesses are, whether or not they accurately know what the labels mean. Is that true? Have you seen the plan?
If you’ve seen the plan does it jive with what you know needs to be done to deal with her specific problems?
If in all of this you can prove that that school really doesn’t know how to handle your daughter you can get them (legally) to fund her education at a private school that knows how to deal with her.
This is called “town funding” and while it’s not done all the time, it’s not a complete rarity either.
If you gently tell them that you’re aware of this they may put a bit more effort into helping her by bringing in people from the outside who know more about dysnomia and other language-based issues she has.
It will be less expensive for them to handle it themselves than to fund tuition at another school.
Start with the 504 plan. Get a copy of it, read it, and see if it makes sense to you. If not, you’re entitled to meet with them to have it explained.
Perhaps some of the issues related to school awareness stems from terminology. Here’s what I mean:
My understanding is that sometimes dysnomia can be re-termed as a naming or even word retrieval weakness. In some cases people with dyslexia and as part of their overall language processing differences/weaknesses, have difficulties with specific naming “on demand.”
I work and test lots of folks who have good or great receptive vocabulary (they know lots of words when assessed in a particular way such as with visual prompts/pictures). They can define a word (tell meaning/function) and yet struggle if asked to do the reverse (tell the specific word from a meaning).
By focusing on this aspect of a child’s learning strengths and weaknesses you can think creatively on alternate testing or assignments.
For example: Instead of “fill in the blanks” or pop quizzes, more emphasis can be placed on “define the words.”
Now is the time to take action on behalf of your daughter’s school success. Middle School and dysnomnia from my experience is a huge shift . . . from learning to read to reading to learn. Not only will her learning be impacted significantly without proper academic support, but all the peer related issues are heightened at this age, as well as, all the classroom and teacher changes! Individual teachers can be supportive, individual AEA people can be, but I found it was mostly up to me to teach my son coping skills, organizational skills, build on his strengths and ways to compensate weaknesses, and really build his self-confidence (because he always felt dumb). Providing an organized, structured, predictable environment where he was accepted made a huge difference for him. If I could do it all over, I would find a private school that understands LD, where your child could feel normal, and as a parent you will feel supported, not exhausted fighting a system that is teaching “a curriculum” not “children”. My child is 19 and in college where the supports are outstanding. It makes all the difference in the world. No more timed tests, fill in the blank tests, or T/F questions! Audio textbooks, multi-sensory presentation of material are available; the professors are all so willing to help students learn in whatever style is necessary. It is a whole different environment. My son is happier than he has been in years! The middle school years are pivotal and I hope you act now on your child’s behalf, I regret that I did not push the school to meet my son’s needs or look for a school that would. It will make a huge difference in your child’s life.
My son’s LD related issues definitely escalated in middle school. We are still working to find the right programs and support for him in high school. What college is your son attending? It sounds fantastic.
My priority is build my son’s self-esteem and find his strengths. I am looking for a qualified LD-oriented tutor. Any ideas out there about how best to locate one in our area?
I’m a 54-year-old female and have been wondering for many years…”What’s wrong with me???” Recently, while surfing, I discovered the term ‘dysnomia’. It seems to describe my problem very well.
I don’t recall ever being in an accident or situation traumatic enough to cause any brain damage.
Many years ago in high school, I began to notice that when I spoke, I’d have to stop and think for several seconds to come up with an appropriate word. Now, a word is more difficult, and takes much longer to find. More often than not, I never come up with the word I’m looking for any more. Frequently, I will sit up at night in bed with a dictionary looking for a word. Most of the time, while speaking, I can tell you what letter the word starts with that I’m trying to recall. Most people have to finish sentences for me.
I’m a science teacher, and word retrieval has become a serious problem. Not only do I bore my students, but I bore myself most of the time, too. It’s a real effort to complete sentences. It also seems like each year I’ve got to re-learn specific facts and terminology that I need to teach. It’s quite time consuming. I know what a lot of words mean, but when my middle-school students ask me to define a word, I have to hand them the dictionary. As this problem is quite frustrating, I’ve noticed that my patience with myself and my students has diminished considerably.
Another problem I’ve noticed is that I have difficulty reading. I can decode the words and I understand content. I just can’t seem to finish what I start. I do not recall ever reading a complete newspaper article. Although I find a subject fascinating…I just can’t follow through. The most I’ve ever read is the beginning paragraph in any newspaper or magazine article.
Most information I’ve found is about dyslexia and helping children. I’m not a child anymore and my needs are a bit different. Is there any help for someone like me?
My situation is similar to Frances’. I am about to turn 50 and have been struggling with simple word retrieval increasingly over time.
I do not have learning disabilites, or never did thru school or college. Never had any problems processing information and did well on tests, as long as I studied & kept up with the material.
I didn’t start having issues with word retrieval untill, I think, the last 5-10 years. I’m not sure when it started, it just seems to be getting worse & it is causing me stress in social settings…even family dinners.
I was wondering if my 2 bouts with lyme disease could cause/contribute to my problem? Or is this early Alzheimer’s? I don’t get lost; however, and I have not had any brain trauma or accident; & I do not have difficulty with short term memory.
I do not substitute similar words unknowingly usually I use a substitute word & say that I have, while speaking, because I cannot pull forth, from my brain, the word I can clearly see there.
I, too, use the alphabet to try and jog the word out, but it doesn’t always work.
I see from other, earlier posts, that some people feel certain foods (nitrates, green peas) trigger it….Is this documented anywhere??
I really would like to know if there are any vitamins, food groups, mental exercises, that can help.
I am about to go for a yearly physical, and wonder if my general practitioner will have any knowledge of dysomia disorder??? This will be the first time in my life that I have a laundry list of health questions for my doctor!!
Kim: By any chance are you taking Lipitor or any other statin? I’ve heard that Lipitor can affect memory although at 57 I can’t tell how much of my memory loss is normal aging and how much of it is the 5mg of Lipitor I’m taking.
My experience is that as we age memory becomes more fragile. There are more things in our heads, we might tire more easily, and then there are these other factors which are hard to pin down.
No doubt diet and mental activity (or lack thereof) play a roll in this as well so when you talk with your doctor you should list everything that you know about and all the things about yourself that might be causing the problem.
Like my eyes not being as sharp as they were just a few years ago, my memory is definitely going. Personally I’m not concerned about early onset AlzheimerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, just that my entire brain and body are not quite what they used to be. Getting old is a drag but the alternative is more of a drag.
Do let us know what you come up with Kim, many of us are in similar straights.
Alas, I was hoping to find more information, but the internet seems to be a giant void when it comes to Dysnomia.
I was diagonsed with Dysnomia as a child (before first grade, I think), and then had intensive tutoring through fifth grade so I normally don’t have much trouble with it. Learning names (especially in large groups) is difficult and one thing that always drives me crazy is that I cannot remember the lyrics to songs. If the music is playing I can do it, but looking lame in front of your friends for being unable to sing a song with them wasn’t easy on myself as a teenager.
I only found out about my Dysnomia two or so years ago when my mom let it slip. Apparently my dad had wanted it to be a secret from me so I wouldn’t be judged, but I feel that it probably hurt me as well. In middle school through high school, French was always one of my most difficult subjects because I could simply never remember the words. If I was just reading, I could manage fine, but the moment the teacher expected me to speak in class…things went downhill.
I’m currently doing a research paper on Dysnomia. Gathering together articles together has been more than impossible, and I’m probably going to have to expand my topic. If anyone is interested, here’s the list of references that I’m going to be using (all of them were triggered by the keyword Dysnomia on JSTOR, PsychInfo, etc):
Dingwall, William, and Harry A. Whitaker. “Neurolinguistics.” Annual Review of Anthropology 3 (1974).
Hevesi, Dennis. “Learning Disabled for a Day.” The New York Times 4 Aug. 1991.
How Difficult Can This Be? Prod. Peter R. Productions. Perf. Richard D. Lavoie. DVD. 1989.
McGowan, Jo. “Learning Curve: What It’s Like to be Disabled.” Commonweal 18 (2005).
Scarborough, Hollis S. “Very Early Language Deficits in Dyslexic Children.” Child Development 61 (1990).
Schiller, Jerome. “A Screening Instrument for the Assessment of Dysnomia of Children.” Clinical Neuropsychology 4 (1982).
Stanovich, Keith E. “Definitions of Reading Disability: Has Intelligence Led Us Astray.” Reading Research Quarterly 26 (1991).
Thies, Armin. “Neuropsychological Approaches to Learning Disorders.” Review of Research in Education 12 (1985).
Wolf, Maryanne, Holly Bally, and Robin Morris. “Retrieval Processes, and Reading: A Longitudinal Study in Average and Impaired Readers.” Child Development 57 (1986).
Wolf, Maryanne. “Speed and Reading: The Contribution of the Cognitive Neurosciences.” Reading Research Quarterly 26 (1991).
Oh, and I just realized. There are more articles for those who develop Dysnomia later in life either as a result of age or an accident (my course is Educational Psychology, so I’m focusing on childrne). I don’t have those on hand, but those who are interested can look them at JSTOR, PsychInfo, and other websites.
Hang in there everyone. I have lived with anomia for 61 years and there are ways round many of the problems that beset us. It has not stopped me being a successful parent, wife, teacher, writer and actor. It did hamper my “career” as a politician as I could never trust my ablity to speak “off the cuff”.
The main thing that has helped me is advance planning. I discovered at school that I could act. When I looked at what this entailed I realised that when I became another person I lost my problem and became as fluent as the role demanded. Even when I was improvising I was really selecting from a number of carefully constructed “scripts” that I had prepared in the course of rehearsals. From this I realised that I could apply this to other situations – and that is what I do. O.K., there are times when I come unstuck but not, generally, in “formal” situations. Thank goodness for an understanding and patient husband and son though! Dawn.
I have occasional problem with name recall. I have always mixed up green and orange (see something green and call it orange; visa versa). Recently I have been replacing words with similar words (He hasn’t said anything about a “snow day” instead of “show”, We talked about the “wedding” instead of “weather”). Most recently I really wanted to say “spinach” but could only say “shrimp”, even when I tried a couple of times. It just feels like it is getting worse, because in the past I would just stop my sentence until I could figure out the word. Now incorrect words are just popping out before I realize it.
Elizabeth: I don’t say this to belittle your concern but as my wife and I have gotten older (I’m 57, she’s 61) our name and word recall has gotten a lot weaker.
However, the fact that you’ve always had confusion of certain words (green and orange) might mean that something else is going on. Have you been tested for dysnomia? A test and discussion of the results with a psychologist might put your mind at ease.
You didn’t belittle my concerns.
I’m only 26 years old and I’m a sign language interpreter, so for me, I have to remember a name in two languages, which does make it more difficult. I also have the problem with “her name begins with an N”, but not being able to recall the name further than that.
I was just looking for a name to put with this weird word switching that has been happening. Using two languages to express myself has proven another complication. Sometimes I’ll be talking and a word comes up that I can only express with a sign, or visa versa.
It’s all very strange for me.
Elizabeth: Wow, what a fascinating situation. Being dyslexic I found it very difficult to learn a second language although I’ve always thought that sign language, being kinesthetic might be easier for me.
My guess is (and this is a guess) that remembering a sign and remembering a word to speak are two different memory issues, however, if you first remember the word to speak and then sign it, the signing is based on speaking which means the problem there affects the other.
The theory in the LD-language acquisition world is, the more ways you can store it (multi-sensory) the easier to remember. I’m not sure how dysnomia affects that but I do know that as I get older and find it harder to remember things, the things I do remember are always found in terms of other things. That may be the way we find things even when things are working well but as I get older the associative links in my memory have become more useful. They don’t always cascade as I’d like them to, but if I take the pressure off and think of something else for a while the thing I’m groping for many times bubbles to the surface.
I used to do a lot of public speaking for a living and I never spoke from notes. My talks were all day affairs to thousands of people and I was quite good at it. I used props (not slides) to keep myself on track. But, toward the end of that career I found that if I was just a bit tired and digressed, I found it hard to find the breadcrumb trail back to what I was talking about. This could completely melt a less experienced speaker but while it never completely humiliated me, it definitely helped me see the writing on the wall for that career as my “sharpness” diminished. I’ve not done talks like that for many years now and can’t even imagine how I did it for twenty odd years all over the world. It seems inconceivable that I could talk for an entire day and stay on track but I did.
Anyway, that’s not your issue. I tell that story here to show some support for what you’re going through even though I’ve not gone through anything quite like it.
I highly recommend getting some testing done so you can put a label on what’s going on. And, you might talk with your family doctor about it as well. Taking any medication that might get in the way of memory?
We just found out in the last couple of weeks that my son, has many learning disabilities, Dysnomia being one of them. I have looked for research and ways to help and am coming up short. I am a very proavtive mom. IT is very disheartening that information is not out there.
I have a meeting with the school to add to the 504 plan. But I don’t know how to better help him.
We have found that this runs in the family as a neice the same age as my son also has dysnomia.
Any Ideas !!!!!
I am feeling lost!!
Posted on 09 Mar 2009 at 11:09 am68Julie Koch, MS CCC-SLP
Please take a look at the website by Diane German on dysnomia or word finding difficulties. She has a thorough discussion of the problem, diagnosis, treatment and IEP/504 suggestions. www.wordfinding.com
Hope this helps!
I am a learning specialist AND I have a learning disability that includes dysnomia. As has been said in this blog, it has gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. In my work with students, I find it more helpful to “know” them than to “know about them”. That is I can better select accommodations once I’ve had a chance to work with the student and see what is tripping them up and when. I would encourage you to look at different accommodation ideas (such as on the web page above, my page also has some ideas) and think about when you are seeing it and what you are doing to support him. For me, extra time to process helps, if i need to say something orally that has technical content or names of people I don’t know, I write it down first. I am quite articulate in writing (no lack of modesty here but struggle when required to provide a lot of oral information without some sort of rehearsal. I noticed myself the other day making an important phone call to coordinate a series of informational sessions. I had to write down the dates, the title of the series and each session and the basic questions I had for this person before I made the call. Once I do that, things go quite well. If I don’t I can sound very inarticulate.
Good luck : )
This is a very interesting thread going on here. I’ve never been diagnosed with dysnomia but I’m pretty certain I have it. I’m 22 and have had this problem as long as I remember, I often forget my housemates/relatives/friends names even though I’ve known them for years. Even if I look around the room and try to name things instantly I struggle, with for instance lamp shade.
Now for me I don’t particularly mind, It can be pretty funny when you can’t ask someone to open the door for you and instead say could you open that big wooden thing with the handle. When I meet people I tell them straight away I have a name problem and that I won’t remember it to which I nearly always get the infuriating “oh I’m really bad with names too” pff no your not.
What does annoy me is that I don’t know the lyrics to a single song as someone above also noted. I mean literally happy birthday is as far as I go. I was even in a choir when I was twelve and spent months trying to learn one song yet couldn’t and just had to lip read those around me and guess quickly.
It also results in not being able to appreciate various things such as wine to their full degree as I will never remember the name of a wine I enjoyed in order to get it again.
Someone above mentioned that they can get the first letter of the word but just can’t quite get it. Well I often say to friends for example, “what’s that thing you eat with….mmmm begins with n err you eat soup with it” to which someone replies “What? A spoon? That doesn’t begin with n” oops.
For years during school people thought I was lying when I couldn’t remember my friends names, kids eh.
As I said I’m undiagnosed and I don’t really see any point in going to get a diagnosis. I’m from the UK so it wouldn’t cost me anything, but since their is no ‘cure’ I don’t see any reason to bother.
I’m in my third year of a physics degree and since I don’t write long essays it doesn’t cause a trouble in that respect. I also have ADD (and wouldn’t you know it I have a report due in 3 hours and I’m procrastinating on here instead) and so already get extra time in exams.
I would definitely be interested in reading the research paper by Becky above when it’s complete.
My son, age 10 (4th grader) has struggled all the way through school – we were finally able to get him tested at the University of Iowa and he was diagnosed with Dyslexia and Dysnomia, and a tick disorder that is a result of the two “Big D’s”. D&D are making for a rough trip through school, but we at least feel like we have finally tapped into some resources that are helping us.
I’m writing on this forum just to offer encouragement to other parents. I KNEW something wasn’t right with my son, but getting the to root of the issue seemed like one massive dead-end after another. We had issues all the way from my son hitting other kids and being a serious disclipline problem to hours of sobbing over text books and making himself physically ill while trying to complete simple assignments.
We are working with the school and getting a 504 in place now, and knowing the issues has made the entire situation much easier to at least take in stride and have patience while working through things with him. The biggest thing we have going for him is PHONICS! As much time is spent working on phonics as is possible, and it is helping – slowly but surely.
Parents – don’t be afraid to keep seeking if you think there is an issue. I even pushed hard enough that I finally got insurance to pay for the testing. I would also say that having a formal diagnosis has helped a LOT. I have found that since I got the U of I in my corner, things have moved along for us much more quickly.
Finding answers is the first step to moving forward. My best wishes go to each one of you!
This has been a very interesting thread. I have always had problems with naming things and I knew I had a memory problem. I believe it is inherited but this memory problem does not affect my intelligence. I sometimes feel trapped at my lack of being able to retreive the words that I want. It is a moderate problem but still one that I am not happy having yet I have made great strides at acceptance. I have just graduated college cum laude and I am proud that I have learned how to work around it to the best of my ability. It does not go away. My receptive language is 3x greater than my expressive langage. I have learned strategies that work for me and help to cover up the disability. Like what others have said on here, if I prepare I can do well. I have also lost a job because I couldn’t retrieve a piece of info fast enough and the interviewer thought I was lying. Stress and lack of sleep make it double and triple worse. I have found that talking into a small tape recorder has helped me with some of my studies. I’m not sure why but it just works for me. I have never been formerly diagnosed nor do I want to at this point. I first learned about dysnomia in my speech and language pathology class when I was thinking about becoming a SLP. I decided on rehabilitaion counseling instead.
Good luck to all of you out there and I hope my input is helpful for those who are struggling. I still struggle! Fight the fight cause it’s worth it!
Thanks to ALL who have posted. What a wonderful blog. I am currently in school to become a licensed special education teacher. I was told to pick a LD from a list to research, by the time the list got to me in the back of the room this was the LD that was left. Nobody seemed to have heard of it before. Sad.
I want you all to know that I will be giving a 20 min. presentation to a classroom full of potential teachers. I will be sure to convey how frustrating this disability can be. The resources and testimony here have been an excellent resource for me to learn from.
Wow – now I have a name for a problem I always thought I was making up. I am 49 and it’s only in the last 10 years that I have really considered that actually something was wrong with me (or my brain). I am in intelligent indivdual and have done reasonably well for myself at work holding down a senior manager’s position. The trouble starts when I have to speak up in meetings or even general conversations. I know what I want to say, and make a good start, only to be struck dumb half-way through because I just cannot recall the words. Only yesterday I was typing an e-mail and was trying to recall the phrase “damage limitation”. I had only used it a couple of days previously – in the same context – so I knew that I knew the phrase, but I spent 10 mins trying to recall it before finishing the e-mail. Someone once gave me a “tip” to try and use alternative words if I couldn’t recall the one I wanted, but they didn’t realise that all relevant and/or associated words just wouldn’t appear. I would really like to go for further promotion but I just know that this will hinder me in any future jobs where I have to run meetings and teams. It is soooooo embarrassing to have a room full of people just stare at you, waiting for you to carry on and you are desperately hoping for inspiration to strike.
I don’t suppose there is any answer, but at least I know that I am not alone and that I’m not making it up. Good luck everyone
What a relief to have found this site! I have a 13 year old son who I think may have dysnomia. I would appreciate it if someone could give me some feedback to help me determine if this is so. My son never had a specific injury to the head, but he was not breathing at birth. He was without oxygen for a few minutes and it took a lot of effort on the part of doctor’s to resucitate him. They let me know that he was probably going to be okay as he got older but they could not say for certain.
Every year he seems to have more and more difficulty finding his words. He’ll say, “Can you get me the thing?”, when referring to a pen. He often ends sentences with the words “at least”. Let’s go the store tomorrow, at least.” “Can I get a bedtime snack tonight, at least?” “My brother should do the chores today, at least.” Retelling a story, book, or movie can be extremely difficult for him, even though his comprehension of them is excellent.
As a mother (and teacher) I have always felt something was not quite the way it should be with my boy. It is difficult to watch him struggle socially because people, including teachers think he is dumb. Luckily he is a hard-working young man and has managed to do well in school (academically). He also has a talent for music which seems to have helped him in other areas. He is however, becoming more shy and retreating to himself and his music. I am afraid that he may eventually become depressed. What are my options? How can I begin to help my son? The speech therapists at school have been of little help.
Hello All – There is post above about my son, Clay, and I am reaching out for resources. We have hit a new wall – DECIMALS. Clay is currently failing math because he can’t comprehend decimals and therefore does everything in his power to avoid the work; lying, hiding homework, “losing” his book, you name it…he’s tried it. I would love to hear from anyone that has either been through this or can refer resources for teaching decimals to Dyslexic kids. I realize the is not his Dysnomia so much, but I am desperate for any teaching guides or aides that someone has had experiecne with. There are tons of resources on the web, but I would like to have references for materials if anyone has knowledge of them. Thank you!
It is a relief to know I’m not crazy. Though reading the above information is like someone else writing pages out of my life.
I’ve not been formally diagnosed but I too have been dealing with this for as long as I can remember — inability to remember names (even when the person states their name seconds earlier I’m at a complete loss to recall it), unable to recall the word I’m trying to say or trying to say something with the word right there then have it disappear from my tongue as I speak and some other word comes out instead — I never knew there was a name for it.
Finding this blog has been very insightful. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share their stories here.
I am a college recruiter. I talk to literally hundreds of high school students on a daily basis…some for an hour…some for a minute or two. From the time I hear a name…until the time I finish talking with the student…the name is gone. I find that I have “situational/associative” momory: if I talk with a student at their high school, and then, later that day see them at the mall (for example), the fact that I just saw them an hour or two earlier does not connect in my head. I know I know them from somewhere, but where I have no clue…and the name? poof! The worst is when we have an open house on campus and there are alumni on campus. Everyone knows me, but names swirl in my head and I end up in a state of panic. Is that a current student, a prospective student, an alum? I know I have this dysnomia problem, but the students don’t know…and their feelings get hurt when I call them by the wrong name or otherwise stick my foot in my mouth. Any advice on how to keep this anxiety from happening? The older I get (I am 57) the worse it gets.
Peter: I’m 58 and have always had problems like you describe. A simple solution is to make a button or name tag for yourself that says something like this:
“I’m not good with names, please help me out with yours.”
“I’m Peter, please help me with your name.”
This way the button/name tag will help them understand the look on your face as you struggle but will cut the struggle short as they feed you their name.
Trust me, I can lose a name in 30 seconds after a person gives it to me. Names can be slippery that way.
I used a name tag like this for a period of ten years when I was doing a lot of traveling and presenting to large groups and it helped. People laughed, not at me but because they related to the problem and some even copied the name badge for themselves.
I’m not sure if I have dysnomia but I know I have a problem with names and as I get older and my entire memory gets weaker this small but important piece of it gets weaker too.
If you try this let me know how it works for you. Or, if you come up with something else I’d love to hear about it.
For years I’ve had a huge problem remembering the name of fruits and vegetables. I end up describing something like grapefruit as “big sour orange things”. Forgot the name of asparagus today until I googled the description.
Other things at times, usually the names of things or people.
Tim: That happens with lots of names that we don’t use often. I’m not absolutely sure this is dysnomia. The more often we use “asparagus” the better woven into memory it becomes.
I suggest trying an experiment. Pull a picture of asparagus off the web, like here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparagus and print it with the term on it. Do that for a few things you forget and keep them around. No need to study them, just have them around and look at them from time to time. My guess is this will help.
Of course as we get older our ability to hold onto this stuff can weaken and at 58 mine is getting weaker all the time. I use both this computer and my iPhone to look things up all the time but I know that my memory just “ain’t like it used to be.”
I have an 8 year old son with word retrieval problems. They are mild in comparison to what I am reading. At the moment we are applying to schools as we are moving countries, he is mainstream but as soon as they see that he sees a Speech and Language therapist and that he has “word retrieval issues” he stands very little chance of being accepted into the school. They dont even give him the chance of an entrance exam, its “sorry we have long waiting lists. ” Life is so unfair!
His Speech therapist asked him to descibe what goes on inside his head and he answered her by telling her that his brain is a safe, surrounded by soldiers who are guarding the safe, when he needs a word to write a story or tell a story he opens the safe and begins to take the word out and then out of no where a robber comes along , gets past the soldiers and steals the words from him, runs away with the words and he then cant write them down or say them!! I thought that that analogy was great as it exactly describes what happens to him.
For one thing, it shows me that word retrieval issues does not have to mean he can’t be expressively rich and descriptive.
When a school looks at modifying curriculum or accommodating assessment, you can imagine where “fill in the blank” (with one word vocab) could test one’s weakness and asking your son to describe the meaning of a word (same task, flipped over) might be a better way.
I’m glad to have read all of your blogs. Not that I’m glad you have this problem, but that before tonight I had no clue why I can’t seem to remember words or get the correct word to come out of my mouth. I normally can give a very good definition of the word that I am trying to say and I feel as if it is just on the edge of my brain. I just can’t retrieve it so whoever I am talking to has to play a type of charades until they get the right word for me. Or, I’m talking with no problems until I notice the confused look on the face of my listener. Then I usually say, ” I have no clue what I just said.” and the person can tell me what word I used incorrectly. I have always done a little bit of double talk when I’m in a hurry or overly tired. You know, reversing the words in a sentence or the syllables in a word, but in the past year it seems as if my brain is trying to completely fail me. Describing the word that I want to use and hoping the other person can think of it or I will finally remember it is becoming a daily occurrence. I’m 59 and my Mom is 88 and she can remember much better than me. I’m just glad to know that there is a name for it and I hopefully am not losing my mind. God bless all of you.
I can only assume that I am afflicted by this condition. My nickname is Mrs. Wrong talk. My sister is the 2nd Mrs. Wrong Talk. I have always wondered what was wrong with me. I once said Book Mcflane when I was trying to say Bobby Mcferran. I’ve had an entire lifetime of these embarassing misspeaks. I can not pronounce last names to save my life. Even if you tell me and I study your name I am not going to get it right. I’ve developed some skills to get around the problem. I try to use the power of personality to cover up the flaw. If I have to speak in public I can almost die. I have been held back from taking on anything that involves public speaking. For example, I never went to grad school because I couldn’t stand the idea of departmental meetings and brown bags. I am currently employeed in the computer field and I do great with it. I don’t have lengthy conversations with my customers and they generally don’t know if I am getting my words mixed up. My boss can tell though. I wish this wasn’t part of my life but it is. It can make me feel stupid sometimes but I know I’m not. I loved finding this forum. Some of the entries really hit home.
I am 36 and have started to notice this affect me recently. I’ll be in the middle of a conversation and know that a word fits my thought patterns perfectly but pause and be unable to recall it….instead I’ll use some alternative word or phrase that can sometimes make the whole sentence seem slightly more awkward or unnatural-sounding. Usually I can recall the word a few moments later although it is concerning that in recent days even relatively simple words like “bookshelf” and “treadmill” temporarily evaded my word retrieval capabilities. i have become very self-conscious about this to the point that I am purposefully focusing on everything I say, and am hyper-aware of hesitations or use of synonyms to replace my intended word choice. I have a history of mild obsessive compulsion disorder and health anxiety although no experience of head trauma, major accidents or long-term medication. I am somewhat concerned about early onset dementia/Pick’s disease or something like that but my rational mind reminds me that my health anxiety has diagnosed me with heart problems, cancer and ALS in the last few years so hopefully this is another false alarm. On top of that I use the internet a lot (both at work and in my leisure time) and take in an awful lot of information so perhaps that has something to do with it. The only other symptoms I have are failure to recall names of celebrities such as actors or sports personalities occasionally that I used to know and thinks like names of movies and songs. However these are usually people or references that I have not encountered in a while and are not very famous. What do you guys think? Is this worth worrying about? Or am I just being a hypochondriac as usual? My concern is that this may worsen as I get older and of course because I am very self-conscious about it at the moment it’s causing me a lot of anxiety. One other possibility that fits my situation is attention deficit disorder as I can find it difficult sometimes to focus on long articles or when a person rambles on – I am easily distracted with my own thoughts. I don’t really want to go to see my physician about this because I am pretty sure he’ll laugh me out of the office based on my history of health anxiety.
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