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Making Aphasia Therapy and TBI Therapy Functional

Constant Therapy | Traumatic brain injury, Aphasia

Sometimes therapy can seem repetitive, boring, and not applicable to every-day, functional life skills. But many therapies for aphasia, TBI, and dementia have a direct correlation with everyday skills that you use and need constantly. Here’s how therapy for aphasia, TBI, dementia and learning disorders can change your everyday life.

How to make TBI therapy and aphasia treatment functional and motivating for clients

It’s so motivating to see task scores improve – that’s why we love our Constant Therapy report page that gives you access to all of your performance data. But sometimes it can be hard to realize just how much you’re functional life skills are improving too. Those skills are hard to measure, and when we use them every day it’s easy to get caught up in frustrations rather than notice the improvements. However you can use your data from Constant Therapy to remind yourself to check in on those everyday skills, as they relate to your improvements on your Constant Therapy tasks. Check out this highlights reel below of some of our tasks, and how they relate to everyday skills:

  • Understand voicemailWhat better way to practice your comprehension of spoken language than by doing what you do every day – listen to voicemail!
    • Functional Check-in: Does it take fewer tries listening to a voicemail to get the necessary info?
  • Follow instructions you hearThis task allows you to practice progressively more complex direction following. But this auditory comprehension task doesn’t just apply to following directions – it also improves your ability to understand conversation, because it’s improving your general ability to understand spoken language.
    • Functional Check-in: Are you feeling confused less often in conversation? Are you needing fewer repetitions? Feeling better about faster rates of chit chat?
  • Say words in a category/Identify picture featuresDoing categorizing or feature matching is a great way to reinstate your minds’ network of language, and to reform connections between related words. Both of these tasks have been shown in research studies to improve naming (finding the right word when you need it).
    • Functional Check-in: Are you having fewer “tip of the tongue” moments, when you just can’t find the word you want? Are you talking more? Have your family and friends noticed that you’re getting easier to understand?
  • Spell what you hear (with help)This task helps to reconstruct your associations between letters and their associated sounds. You need those connections in order to write quickly and efficiently – and to read as well!
    • Functional Check-in: Has writing notes and emails gotten quicker? Less frustrating? Remember to think about you reading abilities as well, as reading and writing skills often go hand-in-hand!
  • Read multiple paragraphsHere, you work on answering comprehension questions about longer passages. This means you’re not only able to decode (sound out the words), but also to understand what you’re reading.
    • Functional Check-in: Have you been able to get back into the newspaper or reading your favorite magazines again? Has reading books gotten easier and quicker? If you’re seeing improvement on this task, but had given up some of these activities, try picking them back up! It will be slow going relative to before if you had a neurological incident, but just think of the fact that you can do it now!
  • Complete active sentences/Complete passive sentencesThese tasks help with sentence planning, or how we put words together in a sentence in an organized, grammatically correct manner.
    • Functional Check-in: Is it easier to put your thoughts together when you’re chatting with someone? Are people finding it easier to understand your meaning?
  • Find the same symbols/remember the right cardAttention tasks will relate to just about anything you try to do if this is an area of weakness for you. These tasks help you to focus on a single task, which translate from anything from cooking dinner, to taking a shower, to following map directions.
    • Functional Check-in: Has focusing gotten easier? Are you getting more done in a day? Are you less tired at the end of the day? Paying attention can be exhausting, hard work if it’s an area of weakness, and improvements can result in being less tired!
  • Read a mapAn easy connection here. Think about how necessary reading maps is – whether you’re at a mall hunting for your favorite store, driving through the next town over, or navigating the subway system, map reading comes up constantly!
    • Functional Check-in: Next time you’re out with your family or friends, or on your own, be the navigator! See how it goes!It may not be perfect, but it will be improved.
  • Put steps in orderThis task is great for helping you to stay organized as you plan your day. It helps you to choose the most logical process to get a task done. It could be something like whether to go to the grocery store before you start cooking dinner, or whether you it would be more efficient to go to the grocery store next to the pharmacy where you also need to pick up a prescription, rather than the grocery store across town.
    • Functional Check-in: Again, are you getting more done in a day? Are you finding yourself having to “re-do” a task less often? Needing fewer steps to complete a task?

Caregivers, family, and friends – you can take a moment and think about these questions in reference to your loved one working on their language skills. If you notice improvement, tell them! And give specific evidence of how you see this improvement. Without giving specific evidence, it often can feel like empty encouragement.

Think of a specific situation when your loved one excelled at one of these things above, and remind them! So often we get caught up in our own lives and our own self-critiquing, in all parts of life, that we forget to notice our improvements.

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