American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Functional Therapy Tasks

Treatment Tip

When teaching clients/patients Independent Activities of Daily Living (IADL), such as functional math, organization, and problem-solving for shopping, I encourage my students to save clean and empty food containers or other containers and also to purchase travel-size personal hygiene items for therapy use. The items are organized so that the client would have to search for the appropriate item on his or her list and put it in a cart or bag. Instead of doing a one-dimensional activity (paper and pencil), students set up the therapy room as if the patient were going shopping to purchase some groceries or other items. I encourage the use of "real money" so that the patient's money skills can also be assessed. The idea is to see if the patient can organize, make a purchase, give the correct amount of money, and then count to see if the correct change has been received. This works wonders for all patients because every item is tangible. Additionally, this activity is more functional and provides a "hands-on" approach. Once that task has been mastered, the paper-and-pencil task is better understood.

Submitted by Ruth Renee Hannibal, PhD, CCC-SLP, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia

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