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Rehabilitation of Memory Deficits
In Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Theory and Practice, 71-88, Sept 2003
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Memory difficulties are one of the commonest cognitive problems arising from injury to the brain and, consequently, form a large part of cognitive rehabilitation. Unlike the study of memory itself, or the interest shown in memory performance, there has been until quite recently, little scientific enquiry into the remediation or amelioration of memory problems after brain injury. Neither has there been much effort until the past few years in relating theory to the practical experiences of memory impaired people or vice versa. Although considerate effort has gone into pharmacological research in the attempt to find a drug to improve or halt memory decline, this is beyond the scope of this chapter. The interested reader is referred to Curran & Weingartner (2002) This chapter highlights successful approaches to memory rehabilitation that have developed over the past two decades, it discusses guidelines that have been established in memory rehabilitation as a result of theoretical investigations of amnesia. Reference is made to the role of theory in those cases where theory has influenced the clinical management of memory problems. The four major approaches within memory rehabilitation involve (i) environmental adaptations, (ii) new technology, (iii) new learning, and (iv) holistic approaches incorporating emotional, social, behavioural and cognitive aspects of memory deficits. A discussion of these approaches is provided together with an example of a young man receiving a holistic programme for his memory difficulties.