We have listed ideas to help you guide the individual user to get the most from the products. We assume that if you are looking at this section, then you are someone who is most likely a family member, friend, or aide who is going to be working with the “patient.” In the list below, you will be referred to as “you” and “he” will be used throughout to designate either a male or female patient.
- The choice of what product / book / exercise you get is very important. If you have something too easy, then it does not challenge him enough. If you present something that is too difficult, then he will be frustrated and rightfully upset. If you need help in finding the right product, ask your speech-language pathologist. If you do not have one, please contact us and we will be happy to help find something appropriate.
- Make using the books a part of your regular routine. Several shorter sessions daily are usually better than one longer session. You can call it brain-training time or some catchy phrase that you can use to refer to the time.
- Explain what you will do first. Encourage him to read the directions if you are using a workbook and figure out what to do on his own. If you are asking questions, explain in easy terms and give an example.
- Ask him what he thinks is the answer – his first impression. Sometimes individuals have an idea but don’t act on it in case they are wrong.
- Remind him that this is to give the brain a workout, it’s not a test.
- Be flexible and realize there may be multiple acceptable answers.
- Talk little. Watch and listen a lot.
- If he is discouraged, upset, or having a bad day, end the session and start again at another time.
- Give positive feedback and encouragement when you can. Make it real and age-appropriate.
- It is better to start with something too easy and have to look for something more challenging than the other way around.
If you are doing verbal drills or asking questions:
- Speak clearly and slightly slower but in a normal tone of voice.
- Say it once and wait. It may take him a few seconds to think about what you said before he responds. Repeat it only when he indicates he needs it.
- Be quiet while he thinks. Saying things like “I know you know it” , or “you can’t do it” or “remember last week when we went to dinner and I ordered a salad and the person at the next table….” may be distracting and interfere with the brain trying to retrieve the correct answer. Let him ask or give you a signal when he wants help.
- Know what he is able to do and accept that. If he answers in single words, don’t ask him to answer in a sentence.
- If he gets stuck on a word, give him time to get it. If he can write the word but not say it, keep a pencil and paper close by. If it helps to give him a lead-in phrase, try that. If all fails, give him a choice of two answers. If he still has trouble, then the material is too difficult.
- You usually don’t have to go in order so you can skip around to find questions or exercises that sound interesting. Don’t bother to ask questions that you feel he would not ever have known.
- It would be appropriate in some situations to ask a follow-up question or ask for more information. Use questions as the beginning of a conversation. Challenge him to come up with multiple answers if appropriate.
If he is using a workbook and needs help:
- Suggest what to do or what to look for without telling him outright. If the work is being done for a professional to check through, then that person wants to know what the user can and can’t do – not what you can do.
- Keep the sessions light and look for signs of fatigue or overload or confusion.
- In many cases, a clinician will want the individual to do the work alone without assistance. How the user handles that will give valuable information to the clinician in assigning new pages. Check with the professional so you know what your role should be.
- If he gets stuck and doesn’t know what to do, go through the directions and the first one or two questions with him. If he still cannot grasp the concept or does not know the answers, put the pages away and move on or end the session.
- It can be helpful to record the date the exercise was completed and the time it took on the top of the page. That is often a great indicator of progress to look back on at a later date.
- The books do not have to be completed in any special order – look through different target areas to find different types of challenges. Some target areas will be easier than others for him. Each target area starts with easier material and gets more difficult.