Cognitive rehabilitation has been developed by physicians, scientists, and health professionals to improve cognitive function. This therapy also aims to help people with cognitive dysfunction deal with the impact it has on their lives. With the help of cognitive rehabilitation, many people can have a productive and satisfying life following a stroke.
- Acronyms: These are abbreviations in which each letter stands for the first letter in the list of words you want to remember. For example, the word ‘HOMES’ can help you remember the names of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.
- Rhymes: Rhymes are useful in helping to remember facts, such as : “Fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue”
- Songs: Songs like the “Alphabet Song” are great for learning and memory – a,b,c,d e,f,g, h,i, j, k, etc.
- Acrostics: These are similar to acronyms, but instead of only one word per letter, there can be a sentence assigned to each letter.
- Verbal stories: Often explaining something out loud as a story is a useful memory tool.
- Coding methods: There are many ways of using code, such as transforming numbers into letters.
Imagery mnemonic strategies In this form of memory building, visual images are used to aid memory. The best known techniques are the list learning strategies. They include 4 methods:
- The method of loci or place method: This is a mnemonic strategy that is very effective for remembering lists. To use this method you choose a place that you are very familiar with (your house for example). Think of different landmarks in that place (the bathroom, the kitchen, the hall, etc) and train yourself to go around the landmarks in a particular order. Let’s say you are trying to remember a shopping list. Imagine each of the items on the list in one of the landmarks you have in mind. For example, you may picture a giant carton of milk on the couch, or a huge banana in the bathtub.
- The numeric Pegword method: This method is useful for remembering numbered or ordered information. It involves rhyming words for numbers, since the words may be easier to remember in association with what you are trying to learn. This way, instead of having to memorize numbers, you picture the word associated with them. For example:
- one is bun
- two is shoe
- three is tree
- four is door
- five is hive etc.
- The link method: This is when you make simple associations between items in a list, linking them with an image containing all of the items. For example, if the first item on the list was a dog and the second was a motorcycle, then you may try to visualize a dog riding a motorcycle. The fact that this image is bizarre and impossible will help you to remember it.
- The visual story method: This involves linking items together in a memorable story. For example, you may try to remember the planets in order of distance from the sun: “As the heat comes off the SUN, the MERCURY in the thermometer rises. Then the thermometer explodes and the mercury droplets fall onto a beautiful goddess named VENUS. To hide form the mercury droplets, Venus digs a big hole in the EARTH….”. http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTIM_01.htm
Computer-based tools Virtual reality Virtual reality is a technology that allows a user to interact with a computer-simulated environment. Examples of cognitive skills that can be improved using virtual reality a
- Short-term memory: the capacity to remember information for a short period of time
- Selective attention: the ability to concentrate on and perform activities while filtering out other distractions
- Sustained memory: the ability to remain focused for a length of time.
- Divided attention: the capacity to attend to two or more stimuli at the same time.
Other computerized tools Computer software exists to work on different cognitive abilities such as visual memory, verbal memory, attention to visual objects etc.. Activities to work on these functions include the use of numbers, letters, words, and shape sequences. NOTE: Don’t be concerned if you are not familiar with computers – these programs work quite simply and your therapist can show you how to use them easily.
For the link and story method: