fbpx

11 Cognitive Speech Therapy Activities for Adults Free PDF

Your time is valuable, so let’s cut to the chase: Here are 11 cognitive speech therapy activities for adults that work! Read on for step-by-step instructions and lots of visuals to make treating a little easier—and a lot more fun!

If you’re looking for more where that came from—including 30+ treatment ideas with bonus worksheets—check out our free guide, Functional Cognitive Tasks for Adults.

Adult Speech Therapy STARTER PACK

Handouts, Worksheets, Treatment guides, Eval templates, Documentation guides, Goal banks, and much more!

Memory Strategies

Before diving into the cognitive speech therapy activities for adults, you may want to teach your patients the following memory strategies. They can be a good starting point for patients with more severe memory impairments.

For help with goals, see our memory goal bank.

Activity Instructions

Review the following five strategies with your patients and ask, “Which strategies do you already use? Which are you interested in trying?” Practice the strategies while completing the memory tasks in this chapter.

1) Pay Attention

Listen, look, and focus.

2) Use Mental Pictures

Take a mental picture and store it in your brain. For example, visualize where you left your keys and take a mental picture. Other examples of Use Mental Pictures are:

  • To remember where you put an item, place the item where it belongs and then take note of what’s around it.
    • For example: “I placed the keys in the brown dish. The yellow flowers are to the right and the white wall is behind it.”
  • To remember written information, take note of where the information is located on the paper.
    • For example: “The paragraph I want to remember is on the bottom of the first page of the colorful brochure.”
  • To remember where you parked your car, take note of its location in relation to the store you’re visiting
    • For example: “My car is parked in the middle of the parking lot. The lane is lined up with the logo of the store.”

3) Repeat and Rehearse

Repeat over-and-over what you have just learned, such as a new name or phone number. Other examples of Repeat and Rehearse are:

  • Memorizing lists by repeating them over and over again.
  • Remembering reading material by summarizing what you read immediately after you read it.
  • Learning how to use a new piece of technology by repeating the same actions over and over again.

4) Chunk and organize information

Sort information into categories. For example, organize your grocery list into groups, such as produce and canned foods: “I need 3 items from dairy, 2 from meat, and 5 from the canned food aisle.”

5) Create associations

Make connections between what you want to remember and what you already know. For example, remember a new name by connecting it to someone with the same name.

11 Cognitive Speech Therapy Activities for Adults

1. Calendar Tasks: Fill In A Monthly Calendar

calendar task cognitive speech therapy activities for adults

Calendar tasks can make great cognitive speech therapy activities for adults.

For the first task, have a blank monthly calendar or planner handy, depending on your patient’s preferences (for a blank template, download our guide, Functional Cognitive Tasks for Adults).

Look for a calendar that isn’t visually busy, as that can be distracting for patients. Also, make sure that the text font is large enough to read easily.

How to Use The Monthly Calendar

Simple Tasks Using the Monthly Calendar

  1. Fill in the dates for the month, year, and each day
  2. Add birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.
  3. Add appointments
  4. Add bill due dates
  5. Add any other imporant events
  6. Cross out the days as each day passes

To make these calendar activities a little more fun, add their pet’s birthday or a fun national holiday (Squirrel Appreciation Day is January 21!)

Follow Up Questions Using the Monthly Calendar

  1. What year is it?
  2. What month is it?
  3. What day of the week is it?
  4. What is today’s date?
  5. What holidays are celebrated this month?
  6. What day of the week is the first?
  7. What day of the week does the month end on?
  8. What birthdays are in this month?
  9. How many Sundays are in this month?
  10. What is the date one week from today?

2. Calendar Tasks: Reading A Calendar

reading a calendar functional cognitive tasks
From The Adult Speech Therapy Workbook

Activity Instructions

  1. For this activity, prefill a blank calendar page with four or five events and times.
  2. Print out some review questions, such as:
    • What day of the week is May 10?
    • What date is the first Saturday?
    • What day of the week is the last day of the month?
    • When is the dentist appointment?
  3. Ask your patient to review the calendar for about a minute before answering the questions (depending on their needs and your goals, patients can write down the answer or answer verbally or otherwise).
    1. Encourage them to add only pertinent information
    2. Ask them to cross out each questions right after they answer.
  4. Increase the difficulty of this task by asking the patient to review and memorize what they just wrote down using their memory strategies.

3. Calendar Tasks: Write In Appointments

cognitive speech therapy activities for adults

Now, let’s have your patient fill in appointments on a monthly calendar.

Activity Instructions

  1. Have a blank monthly calendar page ready
  2. Print out a list of appointments, such as:
    • You return from Hawaii is on the 2nd at 8:30pm
    • Your cousin is visiting from the 5th to the 7th
    • David’s birthday is on the 31st
    • Your dentist appointment is at 10:15 on the 17th
  3. Ask your patient to review the appointments for about a minute before filling in the blank calendar (depending on their needs and your goals, patients can write in the answer or dicate or otherwise).
    1. Encourage them to write down only the pertinent information (“Return Hawaii 8:30 pm”; “David’s Bday”)
    2. Ask them to cross out each appointment right after they answer.
  4. Increase the difficulty of this task by asking the patient to review and memorize what they just wrote down using their memory strategies.

4. Remembering People’s Names

cognitive speech therapy activities for adults

Worksheet to Remember People’s Names

Remembering people’s names can also make great cognitive speech therapy activities for adults.

You can print out the following questions or dictate them to your patient. Supply them with paper and a pen to complete this activity.

Activity Instructions

  1. Write down the name of the person you want to remember:
  2. Write down the same name three more times:
  3. Do you know anyone with that same name? Write down how you know the person. For example, “Jennifer from work.”
  4. Does that name remind you of another word that’s easy to picture? For example, Alisha reminds me of “a leash” like a dog leash (silly associations can be fun!) Write it down.
  5. Does the name rhyme with another word? Can you make a little “jingle” or “tune” out of the name? For example, “Dave like to save.” Write it down.
  6. Which of the previous associations feel “right” to you? The person with the same name? Another word that is easy to picure? Or a rhyming word/jingle? Write the winning association down three more times.
  7. Without looking at this paper, say the association aloud three more times.
  8. Without looking at this paper, say the name of the person you want to remember.
  9. Repeat the association to yourself at least three different times throughout the day. Do this daily for at least one week.

5. Remembering Therapy Team’s Names

A functional place to start remembering names is with the patient’s therapy team!

Create a worksheet like the one below. Ask your patients to use their memory strategies to remember their therapy team’s names. First, they will write down the name. Then they will write down an association for each name (Dave likes to save).

NURSE____________________________________________________________________

SPEECH THERAPIST_______________________________________________________

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST_______________________________________________

PHYSICAL THERAPIST_____________________________________________________

OTHER TEAM MEMBERS__________________________________________________

6. Names to Pictures

For the following Names to Pictures task, the same set of photos are displayed twice: first with the name next to the photo and the second set without the name. Print these images out (copy and paste them onto blank documents) or prepare your own set of images.

Wildcard fun idea? Play Guess Who, replacing the images with printouts of people in their lives. A friend recently did this with kids we went to middle school with—and it made for hours of hilarious fun!

Have your patients use their memory strategies to recall the following people’s names:

practical cognitive tasks for adults

Diego

practical cognitive tasks for adults

Gigi

practical cognitive tasks for adults

Anne

practical cognitive tasks for adults

Frank

practical cognitive tasks for adults

practical cognitive tasks for adults

practical cognitive tasks for adults

practical cognitive tasks for adults

7. Remembering Instructions

cognitive speech therapy activities for adults

You can create many cognitive speech therapy activities for adults around remembering instructions for their ADLs.

Preparation

Create a set of simple instructions like the ones modeled below. We recommend creating around ten to twenty-five, depending on your patient’s needs and goals. You can increase the complexity of the instructions as needed (add more steps, etc.)

Activity Instructions

Read one instruction aloud, then ask the patient to repeat back the key information. Record accuracy by how many keywords (underlined) the patient recalls. If the patient expresses the main idea in their own words (e.g. they say, “go right” for the keywords, “turn right”), then this counts as correct.

Go through five instructions, then review the set using the keywords (e.g., “tell me about the garlic” or, “what do I combine?”)

If the patient accuracy is 80% or above: Add five more instructions, then review the entire set of instructions, using the keywords. Repeat until accuracy during review falls below 80%.

To expand the challenge, you can prompt the patient to take notes while you read aloud.

Example Instructions

  1. Take tablet twice daily.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Bring photo ID and your insurance card.
  4. Stir until mixed.
  5. Take a left at the light.

8. Math in Everyday Life: Road Trip!

cognitive speech therapy activities for adults

Use everyday math to come up with lots of FUN and functional cognitive speech therapy activities for adults. Impossible, you say? Read on!

Activity Instructions

  1. Choose a road trip destination. Have fun with this! Maybe it’s to visit the grandkids in Atlanta or to the annual motorcycle rally in South Dakota.
  2. Use an atlas or Google maps to map out their journey.
  3. Calculate the total distance
  4. Calculate how many days/hours the trip will take
  5. Plan how many stop they’ll take
  6. Calculate how much they’ll spend on gas or tickets.
  7. If appropriate for your patients, increase the challenge by adding in a second or third destination. Calculate the costs of lodging and food.

9. Math in Everyday Life: Shopping Spree!

functional cognitive tasks for adult speech therapy

We originally called this activity “Weekly Ads”….but that didn’t sound as fun as a shopping spree! Come up with cognitive speech therapy activities for adults around planning and creating a shopping list.

To keep this activity functional, find advertisements for products that fit your patient’s interest. For example, if they love gardening, use a garden center’s weekly ad to plan next spring’s garden. Or if it’s around the holidays and they have young grandchildren they adore, pick up a big-box store or toy store catalog to create a gift list.

Activity Instructions

We’ll use the example of planning a holiday feast.

  1. Get a copy of a weekly ad from a local grocery store
  2. Have them decide on a budget for the holiday meal
  3. Have them write a list of all the items they’ll need to make the meal. Don’t forget fun decor and dessert!
  4. Using the weekly ad, have them write down the price of all the items they’ll need
  5. Have them calculate what the total cost will be

10. Math in Everyday Life: Restaurant Menus

functional cognitive activities

Who doesn’t love a great restaurant? Plan fun cognitive speech therapy activities for adults out of eating at their favorite (or even wish-list!) restaurants.

Activity Instructions

  1. Get a copy of the restaurant’s menu. You may pick up their take-out menu or print out the menu from their website.
  2. Have the patient set a budget
  3. Have them write a list of all the items they want
  4. Have them calculate tax and tip
  5. Then have them calculate how much their total will be

11. Math in Everyday Life: Reading a Receipt

practical math activities for adult speech therapy

Okay, we’ll admit that reading a receipt isn’t that fun. But it is very functional! And can be used for many cognitive speech therapy activities for adults.

Activity Prep

  1. Have a receipt on hand
  2. Print out a set of questions. Be sure to leave space for the patient to write in their answers, if that meets their needs and your goals.
  3. Have a pen and calculator handy. A separate calculator with those springy buttons is ofter easier to use for our patients to use than the ones on cell phones or other computers.

Activity Instructions

  1. Ask the patient to review the receipt then answer the questions.
  2. Let them know that they can use the calculator and pen and paper as needed.

Example Questions

math ideas for adult speech therapy
Worksheets from the Adult Speech Therapy Workbook
  1. How much is each mango?
  2. How much is each avocado?
  3. How much are apples per pound?
  4. How much is whipped topping?
  5. What is your grand total?

More Resources: Cognitive Speech Therapy Activities for Adults

Adult Speech Therapy STARTER PACK

Conclusion

We hope that you have fun using these activities with your patients. And who knows, maybe they’ve even inspired you to map out your own road trip or plan your own shopping spree!

For more treatment ideas, check out our guide, Functional Cognitive Tasks for Adults, or our posts:

Scroll to Top