How can an individual compensate for his or her cognitive (thinking skill) difficulties?

Approaches have been developed by researchers that aim at compensating for an individual’s cognitive deficits so they can improve functioning in activities of daily living. These compensatory strategies involve modifications to a person’s environment or teaching the patient behavioral techniques that are used to compensate for a cognitive deficit. These approaches can also be used to overcome a person’s perceived lack of confidence in a specific skill area. One specific approach, Cognitive Symptom Management and Rehabilitation Therapy (CogSMART), is available free of charge. This program includes 12 learning modules and can be used independently or with a trainer/therapist. CogSMART was designed to provide individuals with skills, strategies, and tools to overcome problems with concentration (attention), memory, organization, and problem-solving. Typical lessons include the use of a calendar or daily planner for scheduling appointments and other important activities, learning to place items such as one’s keys in a designated area, or placing reminders on post-it notes in one’s kitchen. The developer of CogSMART believes that after one gives these approaches a try, they will turn these strategies into habits so they can used routinely in their everyday lives. The more the person practices, the more automatic these skills will become.

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