On the OZC rehabilitation programme we see clients making excellent use of strategies in session. However, outside of sessions, it can be difficult for clients to think to use their strategies at the appropriate time. This is not surprising when we consider that remembering to use a strategy is a memory challenge in and of itself. Specifically, this is a prospective memory task, whereby one forms an intention to do something at a future point in time, and needs to bring that intention back to mind at the correct time. Research conducted by us, and other groups, has shown that prospective memory tasks make demands on attention, memory, and executive functions, so it is no surprise that our clients find them challenging! We have also found that systems like NeuroPage can improve clients’ performance of prospective memory tasks even when we send general messages to encourage strategy use, rather than specific messages that direct the client to perform particular tasks.
We frequently use NeuroPage with our clients, to support the generalisation and maintenance of strategy use. We might send messages saying “remember to use your strategies!” or “don’t forget to Stop and Think!” (a favourite executive strategy). These can be programmed to be sent at random times, and the message content can of course be changed, both of which help to retain a sense of novelty. Many clients report finding such messages really useful in maintaining their strategies, or as one put it “The texts make me think. They stop me slipping back into bad habits!”.
Fish, J., Wilson, B.A., & Manly, T. (2010). The assessment and rehabilitation of prospective memory problems in people with neurological disorders: A review. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 20(2): 161-179.