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Getting Your Money’s Worth Is An Exercise (Or Two) | Cognitive and Language Disorders

Counting money, making change, and asking about prices are everyday skills most people take for granted. Yet, these skills are often challenging for people with cognitive, speech, and language disorders. These common situations require fluency around currency. Constant Therapy has two currency tasks you can bank on.

Cognitively, some individuals have trouble making calculations, such as adding or subtracting coins or dollars from each other.  If language skills are affected, you may have trouble mapping these numbers and calculations to semantic or phonological representations. Or you may have trouble understanding the dollar amount the cashier is asking, or finding the right words to communicate a product price. When asking about the price of an item, if speech skills are affected, your speech might be difficult for a conversation partner to understand. 

If any of these areas are impacted, you may have difficulty with everyday money-based tasks.  Activities like paying a co-pay at the doctor’s office, paying for parking, buying groceries, or paying bills can become challenging and frustrating.

Make Rehab Exercises More Functional To Improve Quality Of Life

In therapy, the focus is on returning to the daily tasks and activities encountered on a daily basis. Some researchers have examined numerical skills in different neurological populations. For example, in their paper looking at numerical skills in people with Alzheimer’s disease, Martini et al (2003) stated “Programs which realistically simulate the most frequent and important everyday activities relying on number processing may thus improve the patient’s quality of life.”

Similarly, in their case study looking at the potential of virtual reality-based training to enhance the functional autonomy of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients, Foloppe et al (2018) found that “Shopping and cooking are examples of familiar and routinely performed tasks, commonly known as instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), that contribute to independent living. People with Alzheimer’s disease have difficulties in performing these activities, mainly because of their cognitive impairment. (American Psychiatric Association, 2013; Derouesné et al., 2002; Mahurin, De Bettignies, & Pirozzolo, 1991; Marshall et al., 2011; Perneczky et al., 2006).”

Issues arise when a caregiver steps in to help an individual with Alzheimer’s by performing the difficult daily task for them instead of the Alzheimer’s patient performing the task. Additional studies show that this solution is not optimal. The studies “have underlined the importance of AD patients staying cognitively active to prevent functional deterioration over time (Friedland et al., 2001; Tappen, 1994; Wilson et al., 2002). So there is a critical need to develop therapeutic interventions likely to maintain or enhance their independence in everyday activities using methods that are useful for them (Haute Autorité de Santé, 2011).”

Constant Therapy can help you practice functional cognitive and language therapy activities, as many of these everyday skills have been digitized and are accessible at your fingertips.

Two Currency-Based Tasks To Simulate Functional Money Scenarios – In Therapy Sessions

The Constant Therapy Count money and Say how much money tasks are useful in therapy and can address a range of cognitive, speech, and language skills.

In these structured tasks, you can work on cognitive strategies (such as verbal mediation, taking written notes, double checking your responses), language strategies (such as word retrieval strategies, circumlocution induced naming, self-cueing), or speech strategies (such as slowing rate, articulatory precision, increasing loudness).

Here are some examples:

  • Expressive Language – Are you working on word retrieval? Are you looking for materials to help you with your daily living activities? Use the Say how much money task to practice the names of currency and communicating prices. In therapy sessions, you can simulate being at the grocery store or pharmacy and have your patient practice making calculations and communicating the amounts with their word retrieval strategies.
  • Working Memory – If you are working on memory skills, this task provides materials for them to make functional calculations. For instance, try adding together the value of dollar bills in a wallet or coins in a pocket.
  • Calculations and Problem Solving – If you’re working on math skills, this is a functional way to practice math beyond simple addition problems; for example, working on everyday situations like splitting a bill at a restaurant, calculating a sale price that has been discounted, or converting units of measure in baking.
  • Speech Intelligibility – Work on articulatory precision, slowing speaking rate, and increasing loudness.

While our currency tasks are in U.S. dollars, they can still be valuable for people outside of the States. In the future, our goal is to include international currencies also.

Let’s take a closer look.

Featured Task: Say how much money

What is Say how much money?

You are presented with U.S. dollar bills and coins. You must calculate how much money is displayed on the screen. When you are ready, you can hit the “start” button to record your response. The program will analyze the response and mark as correct or incorrect. You can listen to your response and compare it to the correct answer. You can also try again, if necessary.

How is Say how much money Leveled?

There are 4 levels to Say how much money. They are:

  • Level 1: Count 1-2 coins or bills and calculate their total value.
  • Level 2: Count 3-4 coins or bills and calculate their total value.
  • Level 3: Count 5-6 coins or bills and calculate their total value.
  • Level 4: Count 8-10 coins or bills and calculate their total value.

How is Say how much money Scored?

Scoring is binary (response is either correct or incorrect) based on their response analyzed by the speech recognition engine. The overall score is based on the percent correct items given.

Featured Task: Count money

What is Count money?

You are presented with U.S. dollar bills and coins. You must calculate how much money is displayed on the screen. A scratchpad is available if you need it. You can input the answer in the dollars and bills answer box. Tap on the box, and a number pad will appear to input your answer.

How is Count money Leveled?

There are 4 levels to Count money. They are:

  • Level 1: Count 1-2 coins or bills and calculate their total value.
  • Level 2: Count 3-4 coins or bills and calculate their total value.
  • Level 3: Count 5-6 coins or bills and calculate their total value.
  • Level 4: Count 8-10  coins or bills and calculate their total value.

How is Count money Scored?

Scoring is binary (response is either correct or incorrect) based on their response analyzed. The overall score is based on the % correct items given. 

References:

  • Martini, L., Domahs, F., Benke, T., & Delazer, M. (2003). Everyday numerical abilities in Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 9(6), 871-78.
  • Foloppe D.A., Richard P., Yamaguchi T., Etcharry-Bouyx F., & Allain P. (2018). The potential of virtual reality-based training to enhance the functional autonomy of Alzheimer’s disease patients in cooking activities: A single case study. Neuropsychol Rehabilitation. 2018 Jun 18:1-28. doi: 10.1080/09602011.2018.1484374.
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1 Comment

  1. Lindee Bower

    The counting money thing – Can’t tell you how happy I am to see this brought up. I was about a year into rehab, was at a craft / gem show and realized I didn’t know how to count money. When I told my speech therapist about it, she gave me a very basic elementary school math test. I struggled with addition and subtraction – and when it came to multiplication and division – had no idea how to do it. And keep in mind – I was an Accountant who was good at math. Because you pay for things so many times with a Debit Card or Credit Card – I had no idea I had a problem. To practice – I started paying cash for everything – fast food, coffee – just anything and everything. I would count out the money, and then count it 2 more times to make sure I got it right. I would confirm with the person I was paying – that I was correct. I did this for about a year. I am still in the process of re-learning math – but can do addition and subtraction OK. Without people / DR’s helping us – recovery from a head injury would be impossible.

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