Monday, April 2, 2018

Expanding the Use of Animated Step-by-Steps® to Dementia & Aphasia Therapy.

As a disclaimer, I've really NOT worked with clients with disorders such as Dementia and/or memory loss, but a recent article in the ASHA Leader (Toss the Workbooks! Choose treatment strategies for clients with dementia that address their specific life-participation goals by Becky Khayum & Emily Rogalski) made me wonder whether Animated Step-by-Steps® might be used to support therapeutic training with this population. According to the authors, "Instead of 'testing the person to identify impairments, then using drills to improve the impairment – person centered care is client-directed: Collaboratively written goals address the client's and family members' concerns, and aim to increase the person's participation in meaningful life activities".

In the Khayum & Rogalski article I was particularly interested in Case 2: Mrs Brown, a woman with mild cognitive impairment manifested as memory loss. Mrs. Brown's personal goal was to be able to cook her favorite recipes when she returns home after recuperating from a hip fracture.

Recommended treatment included:
-using visual and graphic cuing
-breaking the recipe into simple steps
-adding pictures
-using a large font
Wow! …. Check , check , check, check …. these are all strategies that an Animated Step-by-Step recipe already offers. Although assistance may be needed in reading the text up to the star, a simple swipe or tap produces an animation with sound effects that can support comprehension. In some versions of the resource, symbols appear to nurture improved comprehension and expression(through the use of Aided Language Stimulation techniques). 

Examples of Meaningful Life Activities

Making an egg salad sandwich for lunch …

Making no-cook playdoh for when the grandkids' visit …

Using an Animated Step-by-Step format to pace through the tasks of getting ready for bed.

Initially the client might perform each small animated step as they 'read-animate' through the page, but eventually they might be required to progress through several animations before performing the sub-steps. That is, you are systematically increasing the memory task requirements.

Several months ago I assisted Invictus Enterprises (a work program for young adults on the spectrum) in creating an Animated Step-by-Step Recipe to help pace their interns through the steps required for making gourmet dog biscuits. The verdict is in! … The Animated Step-by-Step PowerPoint recipe (displayed on a Surface 2 tablet) has proven to be an extremely helpful training tool.

An Animated Step-by-Step Recipe, Brownies is available as a free resource on the Teachers Pay Teachers site (3 versions: Regular - no Symbols, Picture Communication Symbols, SymbolStix) so download the free resource and give this therapeutic approach a 'test drive' with your clients!

I would love to hear how Animated Step-by-Steps® work as a therapeutic tool with clients diagnosed with dementia and memory constraints.

…’til the next post … 

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©2018 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator