With a smartphone always handy, it’s easy to forget how much information we keep in our heads on a regular basis. If you have to add up how many dinner plates you need for a party you’re hosting, do you grab your calculator to figure out an answer? Most likely, no, because you can keep and access small chunks of information—your working memory is what allows you to access and manipulate that info.
Our working memories are a sort of a mental clipboard for both auditory and visual information that we use in order to do daily activities such as following instructions, planning our days, and making calculations. Verbal information is stored in an area of working memory called the phonological loop, and visual information is stored in an area called the visuospatial sketchpad.
After a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or other neurological impairment, often this mental clipboard may hold less information. However, research shows that regular practice can increase working memory capacity.
If you’re working on memory skills with your clients, you may be training internal memory strategies such as verbal rehearsal, chunking/grouping, associations, visualization, or remembering the total number of items in a list.
Are you looking for materials to practice these memory strategies?
Constant Therapy allows patients to practice several tasks targeting visual working memory (Match pictures and Match faces), nonverbal auditory memory (Match sounds), and verbal working memory (Match written words and Match words you hear).
To improve carryover of internal memory strategies to environments outside of the therapy session, homework is key. Your client can complete these memory exercises as a part of their Constant Therapy home program.
You as the clinician can stay connected and monitor performance on tasks done outside of the session. Can the client achieve similar accuracy and latency scores as they do in the clinic? If there is a discrepancy in scores, perhaps the memory strategies need to be revisited in the clinic.
Let’s take a look at these 5 memory exercises.
1. Match pictures
Targeting visual memory skills, the client will tap on the cards to match pairs of pictured objects.
2. Match faces
Targeting visual memory skills, the client will tap on the cards to match pairs of photographs of people.
3. Match sounds
Targeting nonverbal auditory memory skills, the client will tap on the cards to match pairs of common sounds heard in a person’s environment.
4. Match written words
Targeting verbal memory skills, the client will tap on the cards to match pairs of written words.
5. Match words you hear
Targeting verbal memory skills, the client will tap on the cards to match pairs of spoken words.
All matching tasks have five levels. As the levels increase, more items are added to the grid. Levels are as follows.
The minimum number of moves is calculated, then any additional moves beyond that results in a reduction of score.
These matching tasks target memory and visuospatial skills, but you can use these exercises in other ways in your sessions, too.
Check out our training videos to learn more about our tasks.