I have been using the Brief Cognitive Assessment Tool (BCAT) in my practice for about six months. It is a great tool for assessing dementia and zeroing in on specific cognitive deficits. I just got my hands on the new companion workbook, and I am so excited to share it with you all. If you’re looking for worksheets and brain games that target specific brain function based on scientific research, then I highly recommend this book. It is appropriate for both professional and family caregivers. I was not compensated for this post in any way… my sentiments are true 🙂
Assessing and Treating Cognitive Deficits
As with all treatments, those treatments targeting cognition should begin with assessments. Therefore the foundation of the BCAT Approach is the BCAT Test System. We view cognition as a “vital sign,” and baseline and routine cognitive assessments are essential for treatment, disease management, residential placement, and person-centered care. The BCAT Test System is comprised of multiple tests, and the featured “BCAT Test” is used nationally and internationally to assess general and domain-specific cognitive functioning. It is based on what we call the Cognitive Task Manager, which is a concept referring to the integration of attentional capacity, contextual memory (e.g., remembering to turn off the stove, remembering to take medications, remembering a doctor appointment), and executive control functions (e.g., judgment, problem-solving, reasoning, abstraction, set-shifting). Together, these three cognitive domains are the primary “command and control center” of everyday functioning. The BCAT produces a total score that stages the client in one of four cognitive categories: normal, Mild Cognitive Impairment (with subtypes identified), mild dementia, and moderate-severe dementia. Furthermore, the BCAT produces a Contextual Memory Factor score and an Executive Control Functions Factor score. All three scores can be used to identify treatment goals, and all three can be used to optimize success in using the BCAT Working Memory Exercise Book.
Dr. William Mansbach (CEO and Creator of the BCAT Approach) and Kristen Clark (Sr. VP of the BCAT) designed an exercise book to target working memory. In the BCAT Working Memory Exercise Book, 15 specific exercises are presented based on neuroscience research. Each has been tested with clients who have cognitive capacities that range form normal to severe impairment. Each exercise is further divided into “basic” and “complex” levels of difficulty. The exercise book was created to assist clinicians who work with clients who experience memory deficits. These are relative terms. Practitioners and clients should use this Exercise Book if any of the following goals apply:
- To improve “working memory”
- To increase a client’s ability to attend and focus
- To teach/learn memory strategies
- To improve cognitive-communication skills
- To increase the client’s success and safety with functional tasks (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living)
- To provide a buffer against possible cognitive decline
Working memory is the ability to mentally hold and manipulate information over a short period of time. You might think of it as a cognitive “workspace” in which we temporarily store information we hear, see, or feel in order to do something with it. Working memory consists of two primary components- attentional capacity and task manipulation. From a neuropsychological perspective, it draws upon both attention and executive control functions. Persons with memory impairment typically show decreases in working memory skills. There is growing evidence that for people who have Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and mild dementia (and some with moderate dementia), working memory efficiency can be improved through very specific cognitive exercise.
We are happy to announce that the BCAT Working Memory Exercise Book is now available in a spiral-bound (hardcopy) version. Spiral-bound copies can be purchased on the BCAT website at www.thebcat.com/get-working-memory-exercise-book.
To find out more about the research associated with this book or about ordering copies, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.