Step #1 in finding a new neuropsychologist is : Record the issues I’m currently having and how they impact my life. Wherever possible, have real data behind my rationale for seeking help.
So, if I’m going to work with a new neuropsychologist, I need to be able to tell them why I need help. That means tracking the issues I’m facing on a regular basis, and figuring out if they are significant enough to warrant getting help.
In my case, there are certain things I would like to address, because they directly impact my personal and private life on a regular basis.
At the top of the list is the processing speed that seems to be getting slower.
Next, is my increasing difficulty with comprehending what’s being written (in emails and notes) and said to me. I am having a lot of trouble taking it all in the way I used to.
And then there’s the trouble I’ve been having with increased distractability and getting much more scattered than before. As is often the case with new jobs, about four months in, I start to lose focus, get scattered, and I lose ground. I had a very foggy/fuzzy couple of months behind me, which is patently clear as I attempt to piece together my end-of-year self-assessment for work. I am having trouble putting it all together — much moreso than three months ago.
I’m also having trouble getting started with things. This has been an ongoing issue with me, and I’ve tried to get help for it, but I’ve consistently been told (in so many words), “Your test scores don’t indicate difficulties with that part of your brain, so it really is a willpower thing.” I dunno. I really want to get started on things, but I sometimes have trouble figuring out how to get started — so I don’t. It’s becoming more and more of a problem, and I can’t seem to get help with it.
I’ve been organizing my study, and I came across an old performance review from two jobs back. My boss back then (about 4 years ago) warned that I was late finishing my projects, and that was tarnishing my otherwise stellar reputation. My performance review was also acceptable, rather than exceptional (which it should have been).
Part of that was the fact that my boss really didn’t like me and was threatened by me. Part of it was that lateness and never finishing anything on time was a pretty big issue — which affected my performance, as well as my income. So, even if I did feel better about myself and my abilities to deal with life (as my neuropsych noted), the fact of the matter was, I simply wasn’t delivering on time.
Feeling good is great. Delivering on time is even better. In fact, I would have settled for being unhappy but more productive. That would have made a big difference for me professionally. Ultimately it would have reduced stress… and contributed to my happiness.
Anyway, these are some of the specific things I need to address on a neurological level. I need to know how the brain works with these things, and I need to understand how to tweak my performance – what, if anything, can I do to improve in these areas?
I need to map out exactly how these issues are getting in the way, list the things I have been doing on my own to address them, and talk about the results I’m getting (or not getting) that are affecting my performance at work and at home. I would feel a whole lot better, if I could take some positive steps toward fixing these issues.
- Processing speed
- Comprehension issues
- Getting Started / Initiation
If I can find someone to help me “hack” these problems, that would be great. It would be a step in the right direction.
See more steps here : https://brokenbrilliant.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/how-to-find-a-neuropsychologist-a-step-by-step-plan/
12 thoughts on “Find a New Neuropsych Step #1: Record the issues I’m currently having”
Using a metronome can help with the timing issues and improving processing speed. I think I may have written in precious comments about some tasks I created for my daughter. I am happy to share those. She does a lot with a metronome clinically with vision therapy too–I would have to think about home setup or modification there to be able to make reasonable and helpful suggestions. We are going to look into interactive metronome provided by a certified professional during this upcoming year–that has computer equipment and is more formalized than anything I have put together.
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I know what you mean about getting distracted – my doctors pretty much told me it was like my brain injury caused me to develop ADHD – and that is FAR from the person I was before. I’m still in rehab and working on exercises to help me focus. So far, the simplest and easiest approach I’ve had some success with is to sit down and take a piece of paper, write how much time I’m going to try to focus (absolutely never more than 90 minutes!) and then really force myself to make an achievable list of specific things I’ll do during that time. Sometimes I’m super successful, other times (like right now!) I’m a train wreck at keeping on task. But, it’s lightweight and isn’t about buying a planner or some other organizational tool – just a simple exercise to try to keep you on task throughout the day.
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That would be great info to have. If you don’t mind, could you share details? Thanks very much!
I will write more ideas later, but here are some to get you started. Take a deck of cards and pull out consecutive numbers that are not all the same suit. Randomly spread out 8-12 cards. Using a metronome (we downloaded a free app), determine a beat where you can clap-tap on card-clap-tap on card in a rhythm that exactly matches the metronome beat and in which you don’t make mistakes. The pattern of what you look for will vary as you improve, but for now you are going to start with one pattern variation and work on improving how fast you clap then find the appropriate card on beat. As you become successful with improving the speed on a particular pattern, then randomize the order of the cards again. Here are some example of patterns, some are simpler than others (but simple does not always mean easy). Talk out loud as you touch the card, describing what it is. You don’t have to say the word, “clap.”
1/ just alternate touching red and black cards. Clap-“red”-clap-“black”-clap-“red”-clap-“black”
2/calling name of card in forward sequence (without the cards in numerical order, but randomized order on the flat surface in front of you). Clap-“one”-clap-“two”-clap (etc)…
3/ call card name, but in reverse sequence. Clap-“ten”-clap-“nine”-clap-“eight (etc)
4/ this next version is MUCH harder, but this is where you really start adding cognitive processes and this will amp up your processing speed and reduce boredom. Separate the red cards from the black cards into a pile on the left and one on the right. You don’t need all of the cards, but select an even number for both (ex: start with 8-12 in each pile). For all cards in the left pile, you will clap-add one to the number you see. If the card is a three, you would clap and say, “four.” With the right pile, you will clap-subtract number you see, so if the card is an ace, you clap, then next beat say “zero.” As you improve your time in this game (to achieve a beat of <60), then change the cognitive task to make it more complex–add two on left, subtract two on right. And even more complexity, different numbers on each side, such as add three left, subtract one right. Can also switch later so subtracting is first task, or to right to left instead.
I have other variations where I took a list of the Stroop test words and then wrote them on index cards (so basically some color words are written in their correct color, while others are written in a different color)–you run the patten saying the color of the word, not the actual word. So the word "green" written in blue would be called out as blue. I think the formal goal that is used in most interactive metronome therapies is 60 beats per minute, so that is what we always strived for.
I am sure you will have other variations to describe over time too. Other cards can be made up, such as those with simple shapes (in varying colors). Can have pile on left where you say shape name and pile on right where you say the color it is written in (not as hard as drill above with adding math processes). Variety kept my kid from being too bored. She is now using two pages which are tape to a wall and she stands at varying distances (because this is also part of vision therapy) and has to add for one page which depicts billiard balls and subtract from the other (also billiard balls, but in a different sequence). Both pages have a mix of striped and solid balls, so it is visually more challenging than just a set of numbers that was printed.
How did I do? Do you have enough variety that you can find a challenge? Do you have some starting points for creating your own metronome games? Keep us posted on your progress.
Sometimes I wouldn't tell my daughter the beat number data, but would only allow her to tell me to make it slower or faster based on her perceived effort (while still achieving accuracy). I could easily hear whether she was on beat, but some days were already more cognitively (or emotionally) taxing even before the drills–and of course, you can fatigue (or become frustrated) over the course of the drills. End on a positive, when possible, but stop short of frustration levels that are increasing—so change to an easier task if needed to end successfully as the brain prefers that to stopping when you want to physically express your frustration.
Take breaks, and do the drills shorter times, but more often throughout the day. Add music in the background that has lyrics to increase the challenge, then add a live person who is reading out loud (such as an article from a magazine or the newspaper). If someone is reading scores or information from a sports page, it is extra challenging to be doing the drills where you add on one side, then subtract on the other. (You can also add a challenge on that one where a certain, predetermined number has no numerical manipulation, but is simply called at face value when you see that number only.)
With the metronome, if you have trouble staying on beat, slow the pace to be accurate with the task. The benefit is not only in *becoming faster* while maintaining accuracy of the task completion, but having a rhythm to work with as that helps the brain's processing speed to *keep the steady rhythm* and finish each task exactly on beat.
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This is awesome. Thanks! I will give this a try, for sure.
Here is a link to a site that has two more processing speed activities. I printed page 6 & 7 for my daughter to use.
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Here are some web links for free online games. I actually think manual games can be a bit better for helping with the processing speed, but I don’t have scientific data to back up that opinion. Paper games are more portable and more interactive so other people can be included, if desired, and that is another one of the reasons I like those better too. But here as some ideas…
http://braincurls.com/bf/brainFlex.html – this online game helps one learn to multi-task, shift gears quickly, and be more flexible.
http://braincurls.com/ho/hatsOff.html – this one promotes memory, brain processing speed and reaction time
http://braincurls.com/re/react.html – test and improve your reaction time
http://www.memory-improvement-tips.com/brain-games.html – games under “thinking speed” can help with processing speed
http://www.prevention.com/content/brain-games – raindrops, speed match and word bubbles help with processing speed
http://games.aarp.org/ – spellbound is a vocabulary builder under time pressure so it can work on your processing speed as well as verbal skills (maybe others too – my kid doesn’t like this one much and we don’t have a membership,so we’ve only looked at the free section)
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Great! Thanks so much. Appreciate it
More good stuff – thanks!