You’re dedicated to your recovery journey and commit a significant amount of time every week to your Constant Therapy activities to set yourself up for success. But, occasionally, you might wonder how your cognitive, speech, and language therapy activities translate into concrete functional improvements in life. In fact, it’s common for people to question how skills practiced during therapy will lead to meaningful gains in their lives. Rest assured, however, that you are making progress.
Fortunately, Constant Therapy activities are based on rigorous scientific scientific evidence. They are designed to complement and reinforce daily living skills –from understanding voicemail messages to making your favorite recipes. In this BrainWire post, we offer strategies for melding your Constant Therapy program with your most meaningful daily activities to help you improve your quality of life.
Ask yourself: What aren’t you doing that you wish you were doing?
If you’ve found yourself questioning the purpose of your cognitive, speech, or language therapy or feel a little less motivated than usual, start by asking yourself, “What am I not doing that I wish I were doing?” Use your answer to that question as your endpoint, and work backward from there to identify intermediary goals.
As we’ve written about previously on BrainWire, it can help to set SMART goals, framing objectives such that they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. You might also consider revisiting this question every several months to ensure that your goals and priorities stay aligned as your recovery journey progresses.
Equally important, instead of viewing any current struggles as barriers to doing the things you love, look at those very activities as opportunities to enhance your Constant Therapy practice and reach your ambitious recovery goals.For example, perhaps a robust social life was an important part of your identity. In that case, you may sometimes feel that living with aphasia or another neurological condition gets in the way of having the same level of social engagement now. On the contrary, however, carrying on with your social activities can not only provide an important sense of forward momentum in your life but also itself provide a live environment in which to practice the skills you work hard at in Constant Therapy.
Here are 5 suggestions for how to pair your Constant Therapy with your hobbies and daily routines:
- Play games with friends or family: Playing games is a fun and effective way to improve multiple cognitive and communication abilities at once. Many games require you to develop and test strategies simultaneously; use your working memory to recall game rules and details; and practice language and/or quantitative skills.
Monopoly is one such game that puts many of the skills you practice in Constant Therapy into action. Activities like Count Money, Say How Much Money, and Do Everyday Math will help you as you pay for properties as well as charge and collect rent from other players, while Understand Words You Hear and Read Words Aloud will come in handy as you navigate the game board and actively communicate with other players.
Bananagrams, Taboo, crossword puzzles, and word search puzzles are other great examples of games that will put into practice word retrieval, word comprehension, and memory skills honed through Constant Therapy exercises like Say Words in a Category, Name Pictures, and Remember Written Words.
- Explore your environment via new walks, hikes, or drives: If you’re someone who enjoys getting outdoors, consider expanding your horizons by choosing a new walking or driving route every few days. You can go with a friend or loved one and turn it into a social activity or spend some quality time alone. Either way, by choosing unfamiliar paths, you’ll benefit from having practiced Constant Therapy’s Read a Map exercise, which sharpens your visuospatial processing and navigation skills.
- Read your child or grandchild a bedtime story every week: If you have the opportunity to do this in person, over the phone, or through video conferencing platforms like FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom, reading to your child or grandchild at bedtime can be a highly rewarding way to integrate your cognitive, speech, and language therapy into your family life. You will likely notice progress consistent with your practice in Constant Therapy activities like Read a Paragraph, Read Complex Sentences Aloud, Read Passive Sentences Aloud, and Read Lists of Numbers Aloud. Remind yourself that the story you choose does not have to be particularly long or complex—your child or grandchild will appreciate spending quality time with you all the same.
- Make your favorite recipe and invite a friend over for dinner: Many people enjoy cooking and baking because they are rewarded after their efforts with something tangible: a delicious dish to eat! Suppose cooking was one of your favorite pastimes before your neurological event or is an interest you’d like to explore further. In that case, it has the added benefit of utilizing reading and planning skills that are emphasized in Constant Therapy’s Put Steps into Order and Follow Instructions You Hear exercises.
Best of all, you can adapt the cooking process to suit the skills you want to work on most. For example, if improving auditory comprehension is one of your top priorities, consider finding a cooking video on YouTube and listening to the recipe instructions. Conversely, if reading comprehension takes precedence, borrow a cookbook at your local library or search a website like Allrecipes to find a written recipe you’d like to follow. As an added benefit, invite a friend or loved one over to share good conversation and food together.
- Memorize your daily schedule and shopping lists: Many of your Constant Therapy exercises—including Match Written Words, Remember Spoken Word Order, and Remember the Right Card—are designed to help you improve different aspects of your memory. Some may be at the point in their recovery journey where you can attempt to memorize written records that you typically reference throughout the day, such as short grocery lists or your calendar.
For example, when you are at the supermarket, challenge yourself to remember all the fruits and vegetables on your list. Once you’re ready to move on from the produce section, check your grocery cart against your list. You can also try to memorize upcoming appointments or birthdays in your calendar (which the Read a Calendar exercise may help with).
Daily activities + Constant Therapy: Share what works for you
We get it! It can sometimes be challenging to see the light at the end of the tunnel while you’re in the middle of your recovery journey—but remind yourself as often as possible that the hard work you dedicate to your Constant Therapy program will ultimately help you regain the skills that bring joy and meaning to your life. Share with us in the comments below how you’ve incorporated Constant Therapy exercises into your daily routine to help you reach your goals. We’re here to support you every step of the way and are excited to hear about your experiences!