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Getting Your Money’s Worth Is An Exercise (Or Two)

Posted by Emily Dubas, MS, CCC-SLP
Emily Dubas, MS, CCC-SLP
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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 impairments. 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, they may have trouble mapping these numbers and calculations to semantic or phonological representations. Or they 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, speech might be difficult for a conversation partner to understand, if speech skills are affected.

If any of these areas are impacted for an individual, they 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 individuals 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 Currency and Speak Currency 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) in a controlled environment of the therapy room.

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 Speak Currency 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 your client is 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.

To reinforce these strategies outside of your therapy sessions, educate your patients on how this structured activity can be applied to daily life. For extra practice, you can assign these tasks for carryover homework so your patients can continue to practice these skills between sessions.  

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: Speak Currency

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What is Speak Currency?

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

How is Speak Currency Leveled?

There are 4 levels to Speak Currency. 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 Speak Currency 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: Currency

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What is Currency?

Your client is presented with U.S. dollar bills and coins. They must calculate how much money is displayed on the screen. A scratchpad is available if the client needs. The client can input the answer in the dollars and bills answer box. Then, they tap on the box and a number pad will appear to input the numbers.

How is Currency Leveled?

There are 4 levels to Currency. 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 Currency 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.

You can also view video tutorials of the Speak Currency and Currency tasks.

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.

Topics: Featured Tasks

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Constant Therapy is an award-winning cognitive and speech therapy app, created for survivors of stroke, brain injury, and other neurogenic disorders.

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