LinguiSystems home
Just for Adults Abstract Categories
Ages: 16-Adult   Grades: 11-Adult

Help adults develop the intangible skill of abstract categorization using functional content and a well-planned progression of task difficulty.   


  • Categorize by abstract attributes  
  • Improve underlying language processes
  • Develop divergent and convergent thinking
Add to Cart
** This is a Cloud E-Book that is accessible from any device with Internet access. .

Adult clients improve categorization, comprehension, and mental manipulation of abstract concepts with these ready-to-go lessons.  The content ranges from basic to moderate difficulty levels and reflects a variety of reasoning demands encountered in everyday cognitive and language tasks.  Clients respond to the tasks by marking the correct answer, giving verbal answers, and writing one-word answers.  A screening tool helps identify the client's reasoning strategies prior to designing therapy sessions.    

The activities include:

  • selecting, matching, and sorting members of abstract categories (e.g., things that are pointed, things that are scented)
  • excluding words that don't belong in an abstract category (e.g., leopard, Dalmatian, volleyball, ladybug)
  • naming abstract categories and items in abstract categories (e.g., Name something small that begins with M.)
  • listing items by two attributes (e.g., things that keep you warm in the winter)

You may purchase Just for Adults Abstract Categories individually or as part of the 6-book Just for Adults set.  The 6-book set consists of:

Just for Adults Abstract Categories

Just for Adults Concrete Categories

Just for Adults Deductions

Just for Adults Following Directions

Just for Adults Word Relationships

Just for Adults Yes/No Questions


Copyright © 2007

40-page book, screening tool, answer key
  • Communication, both verbal and nonverbal, is a fundamental human need.  Meeting this need by facilitating and enhancing communication in any form can be vital to a patient's well-being (NSA, 2005).
  • Rehabilitation is an important part of recovering from a stroke, and the goal is to regain as much independence as possible (NSA, 2005).
  • In an extensive review of the literature, Holland, Fromm, DeRuyter, and Stein (1996) found aphasia treatment to be efficacious and benefited the majority of individuals with aphasia in comparison to no treatment groups.
  • Therapy should include tasks that focus on semantic processing, including semantic cueing of spoken output, semantic judgments, categorization, and word-to-picture matching (Taylor-Goh, 2005).
  • Therapy may target the comprehension and production of complex, as well as simple, sentence forms (Taylor-Goh, 2005).

Just for Adults Abstract Categories incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Holland, A.L., Fromm, D.S., DeRuyter, F., & Stein, M. (1996). Treatment efficacy: Aphasia. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 39, S27-S36.

National Stroke Association (NSA). (2005). Clinical guidelines for stroke rehabilitation and recovery. Retrieved August 13, 2009, from

Taylor-Goh, S. (2005). Royal college of speech & language therapists: Clinical guidelines. United Kingdom: Speechmark.


Kathryn J. Tomlin


Kathryn J. Tomlin, M.S., CCC-SLP, has been a speech-language clinician in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and in long-term care facilities for over 25 years.  She has authored many materials with LinguiSystems over the last 20 years.  Some of her works include:

  • WALC 1 (Workbook of Activities for Language and Cognition) Aphasia Rehab
  • WALC 2 Cognitive Rehab
  • WALC 8 Word Finding
  • WALC 9 Verbal and Visual Reasoning
  • WALC 10 Memory
  • WALC 11 Language for Home Activities
  • The Source for Apraxia Therapy

Zanmi, Kathy's Samoyed, goes to work with her to encourage the clients.  Her clients enjoy feeding and spending time with Zanmi, and Zanmi enjoys their company.  Everybody wins!


Categorization is an integral part of our daily communication.  We categorize in multiple ways every day.  We categorize when we get dressed, when we choose what to eat, when we go shopping, when we plant gardens, and so on.  But the ability to categorize is frequently impaired in someone who has language or thinking difficulties.  It can become very confusing or overwhelming if categorization skills are impaired.

Many factors can hinder one's ability to categorize, such as:

  • difficulty understanding language or concepts due to aphasia 
  • difficulty utilizing convergent language skills
  • difficulty mentally manipulating information and coming to a conclusion
  • impulsivity causing action before receiving and analyzing all pertinent information
  • becoming overwhelmed with mentally-held information and new input.

The exercises in Just for Adults Abstract Categories have been developed to address abstract categorization.  Abstract categorization addresses intangible qualities and characteristics as opposed to concrete categorization which refers to things that are definite and tangible.  Abstract categorization skills are foundational for many language and thought processes and for activities of daily functioning.

The exercises can be done in multiple ways.

  • Have clients read items silently and complete them independently.
  • Have clients read task items aloud and write the response.  In general, performance improves when a person has multi-modality input (i.e., hearing it while reading it).
  • Read the items to the client and have the client give responses verbally.

The screening tool is not to be used as a test but rather as a way to observe a client's use of strategies and reasoning patterns.  Some questions to think about while observing how the client completes the screening include:

  1. Does the client need to use verbal rehearsal to aid comprehension?
  2. Is the client impulsive, and does his impulsivity lead to errors?
  3. Does the client read too much into the task and become confused?
  4. Is the client aware of his error responses?
  5. Does the client ask for clarification when having difficulty or does he just keep going, whether the item is understood or not?
  6. Does the client miss salient information?
  7. Is the client able to think convergently and divergently?
  8. Does the client have trouble shifting from one task to the next?

These guidelines will help you present the activities in this book.

  • The goals of these exercises are to improve a person's ability to converge upon specific members of a category and to think divergently to determine the category to which members belong.  These abilities to converge and diverge information are foundational skills in many cognitive functions.  Be flexible with presentation and accept answers that differ from your viewpoint if the person can give a logical explanation.  The answers in the Answer Key are provided as a reference and are not intended to be all inclusive.
  • The exercises are not for testing purposes.  Try to make them as enjoyable as possible.  Talking about the specific task items, particularly when correcting error responses, will help to improve one's ability for achieving the goals.  Do not get into debates if the person is unable to see another viewpoint for a response.  Just move on to the next item.

I hope you and your clients find these exercises enjoyable and beneficial.