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CARDS Cognition, Attention and Recall Drill Set Attention
Ages: 15-Adult   Grades: 10-Adult

Clients find it fun to practice and easier to maintain focus with fifty activities that build attention skills using a deck of playing cards. 



  • Increase duration of attention
  • Develop selective, alternating, and divided attention
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The convenient pocket-size book has fifty activities to train these types of attention: 

  • Sustained Attention—working on a particular task over an extended period of time
  • Selective Attention—responding to a stimulus in the presence of competing stimuli
  • Alternating Attention—shifting attention appropriately from one area to another
  • Divided Attention—performing more than one activity at once or process multiple stimuli at once

The activities gradually increase in difficulty beginning with the completion of one-step, repetitive tasks (Sustained Attention) and progressing to tasks that require the processing of multiple details simultaneously (Divided Attention).  The challenge, pace, and familiarity of the cards is a natural motivator for clients! 

Copyright © 2008

25 5" x 7" coated pages

My patient enjoyed completing the tasks in CARDS Memory and reported that he was teaching them to his spouse!  After participating in the drill sets, I noticed improvements in the way he was able to recall information.  I found CARDS Memory and CARDS Attention to be useful in varying healthcare settings.

Amanda Bray-Hooker, SLP
Apalachin, NY

  • Effective treatment should be provided to individuals with cognitive-communication disorders, including problems in the ability to attend to, perceive, organize, and remember information; to reason and to solve problems; and to execute self-regulation of cognitive, language, and social skills (ASHA, 2004).
  • Therapeutic services should address client and family preferences, goals, and special needs to enhance participation and improve functioning in important life activities.  Materials and approaches should be appropriate to the client's chronological and developmental age; medical status; physical and sensory abilities; education; vocation; cognitive status; and cultural, socioeconomic, and linguistic background (ASHA, 2004).
  • Rehabilitation services may include instruction of family/caregivers, peers, and educators in how to facilitate functioning and enhance participation in the prescribed therapeutic activities (ASHA, 2004).
  • Services may improve self-regulatory control over cognitive, language, and social skills to initiate and inhibit, self-monitor, solve problems, and think and act strategically (ASHA, 2004).
  • Processes of attention form the foundation for all other cognitive processes, including those necessary for accurate information processing and storage.  Attention is necessary for memory processing and for linguistic and nonlinguistic perception and comprehension (Hartley,1995).

CARDS Cognition, Attention and Recall Drill Set Attention incorporates the above principles and adheres to standards of professional practice.


American Speech-Hearing-Language Association (ASHA). (2004). Preferred practice patterns for the profession of speech-language pathology.

Hartley, L.L. (1995). Cognitive-communicative abilities following brain injury: A functional approach. San Diego: Singular Publishing Group, Inc.


Katrina Kaiser, Katherine Romero-Davis, Deborah Schott, and Christy Yacono Evans


Katrina Kaiser, Katherine Romero-Davis, Deborah Schott, and Christy Yacono Evans are certified speech-language pathologists who currently work in the acute inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation hospital setting.  They work with adults who have suffered cognitive, communication, and swallowing deficits as a result of neurological dysfunction.  The authors are particularly interested in using these attention exercises in the rehabilitation process.


Attention is one of the most thoroughly investigated areas in psychology and cognitive neuroscience and is a foundation for the rest of cognition.  Attention and concentration deficits frequently are unrecognized and/or misdiagnosed during a cognitive evaluation.  Deficits diagnosed as memory impairments may actually be deficits in attention.

Working memory plays an important role in attention.  "Working memory is the aspect of memory that involves the simultaneous storage and processing of information. Theoretically, working memory is the attentional controller, a memory buffer for processing phonological and visuospatial information" (Shimamura, 1994 as cited in Baddeley, 2000).

Based on research, the authors developed the exercises in CARDS Cognition, Attention, and Recall Drill Set Attention to improve recall and attention using playing cards.  The exercises are divided into sections according to the four areas of attention.  A long-term objective is suggested for each area of attention.