Autistic memory

I've not Googlerated this so I'm starting from quite a low point of knowledge.

I know that we can tend to have very good memory in certain areas and I know about the autistic savant.

So, what do you know about how our memories work and why?

Mainly though, what is your memory like?

What do you remember and what do you not so well?

I have an autistic friend and he can quote back to me the day of the week, date and year a lot of events happened -  small events, things like the day we went on a day trip somewhere over the whole of his life - he's 63.

I don't have that kind of gift but I have realised in recent times that my memory is quite unusual.

I do remember being in the pram and then the pushchair.

However, what I remember really well is places, events in my life and people and the things that people say, going back all 6 decades.

I can mentally walk through every room of the places I've lived in during my life and even where the furniture is.

How about you?

  • I can while if I make the intent to do so or there is a high emotional charge.

  • My autobiographical memory is practically non existent. I don't remember much passed 10 years ago

  • i can relate to you very well. Wish my memory was better. It's a struggle ^^

  • My memory has always been exceptional from a young age. In school despite hating being there I was able to remember all my teachers and what they said. It made homework really easy. If I read a book I can remember it with ease, usually I'm able to picture it like the pages are photographs.

    If I go somewhere I can remember the way to the place and everything that was there. I can picture this too. It's like having a huge detailed map in my head.

    I can remember lyrics to songs, people's faces and names, movies I've watched, books I've read including the dialogue...

    I've always found it easy to retain my memories and can access them as easily as loading up files on my computer.

    The downside to this is that I've got a lot of trauma in my life, my sister committed suicide and I've been in that position myself since and the negative memories are also easy to recall and it can be really depressing because I relive it all over again.

    I've noticed as well with some memories I can hear familiar sounds or smell familiar smells from the said memory....The brain is such an interesting thing it really is remarkable.

  • Well Uhane, I am impressed!  Japanese must be so much more difficult than European languages. I can see, therefore, how it must stretch the mind a little further.

    I wish you good progress,


  • There are other conditions that are more prevalent Autism that might also explain some of the differences. As well as being Autistic I also have:
    Aphantasia. This is where you cannot visual in pictures. When asked to think of a swimming pool for example I see a black space with a partial rectangle. Without it you will see a swimming pool, some people see real detail in with reflections in the water etc. However people with Aphantasia have a great sense of direction and ability to make connections where others cannot.

    I mention this one first as there is no link to Autism and sense of direction but this has been mentioned in other comments. 

    SDAM: Severely Deficient Autobiographical Memory this is common with Autism and is how we recall memories. That memories are reconstructed as third person as are therefore not as vivid as those without it.

    I do not have ADHD, although about 70% of people with Autism do have it, if I did have it I expect my experience of the world would also change significantly 

    So whilst Autism is a spectrum some other conditions that are prevalent with Autism also play into this and our experience on the world. 

  • This can cause some issues within my wider family - those of us Autistic members of the family instantly "get" the detailed photo-recall element of joint history or social reference mentioned by one of us fellow-Autists ...while the non-Autistic contingent can be very frustrated or plain adamant - that we (any of us) have never even visited (wherever), experienced (whatever), met (whoever) or felt (whichever). 

    Ouch!  Tricky one to mediate sometimes.

    I have reflected upon this; and I tend to believe that maybe our non-Autistic family members have a super-efficient-consign-to-deep-archive tendency (which might include a self-protection mechanism?).  Meanwhile, we Autistic family members are naturally loath to consign-to-deep-archive-ANYTHING (sometimes, ongoing negotiating all that may entail - by way of predisposition to c-ptsd in some unfortunate scenarios?).

  • I think it really does. It creates all these new pathways in the brain. I am wroking on japanese with 2 japanese people and some online classes. they are also older and doing it for the same reason. We all have time for it now.

    I also take "lions Mane" mushrooms tablets. I can't really eat the actual mushrooms for the alkaloids in them. But they do a good job keeping the synapses firing on all cylinders.

  • O you have got the super power memory  alright!

    Alas Uhane, I haver recently been assessed as having short-term memory loss, but my long- term is as good as ever.

    I am brushing up my rusty languages as I was advised it would be good for the brain.


    À plus tard,


  • I'm the same Sen, I make a habit of remembering the good stuff so as I can use it when things get bad or just a bit uncomfortable. I've got a good geographical memeory too.

    People can get really cross when I remember conversations so well, some try and insist their version is right, but I know it's not, some people just do it to be difficult and get into some kind of competitive power trip, that's the point at which I walk away, most of the time it's nothing important anyway.

  • That struck so close to 'home' it made me cry a little with wistful longing. thanks for that dear sister.

  • Yes I would guess that's the reason...

    I wish there was a way to delete bad memories, like we could access the brain like on a computer. I know they say bad memories make you stronger but that's never been my experience yet. It just makes me worse lol.

  • The biggest problem with my memory is that it's photographic in a way and it always remembers the bad stuff that's happened. If it's trauma related I'll remember it and that is a pain. 

    Yes, me too.

    I assume that's because we experienced the events with more intensity.

    Just a guess.

  • My memory is weird to be honest... I can remember conversations from years ago but I can't remember what I did yesterday lol. I only have to go to a place once and I can remember it picture clear like it was yesterday. I don't need maps to go to places I've been. It's like its engrained in my brain, my own personal map.

    The biggest problem with my memory is that it's photographic in a way and it always remembers the bad stuff that's happened. If it's trauma related I'll remember it and that is a pain. 

  • There is no one in it but me and it feels like "mine".


    The old expression: 'there is no place like home' ..

  • I can return to a single tree in a forest that I have only visited once before!

    Worth remembering Blush

    I love trees.

    Deciduous tree

  • I may stare hard, trying to figure how someone cut their new mustache in a new way and how it's different while not really hearing what they said, just captivated by their mouth and mustache moving. This is how my own brain works in any case.

    Mine too.

    I can also remember conversations and what people said. This can be a problem. It has made me realize most folk don't remember what they said or what opinion they happened to have at a given point inn the past, sometimes even earlier in the same conversation.

    Me too.

  • I have a similar memories of sitting in the car along such streets. I was not allowed to leave the car so I would wonder at the people and things out the window. Wow, smell the pram's fabric - cool. O you have got the super power memory  alright!

  • I blocked a great deal of my past till I went into serious therapy for 5 years and it all flooded back.

  • Yes I also remember where I lived since 18 months of age. I was very attached to some of them. One of them is a safe haven for me to retreat to in times of distress. There is no one in it but me and it feels like "mine".