3. Practical advice and tips for carers > Perceptual Problems

Perceptual Problems

3) Agnosia video

This film shows an example of a person with agnosia.

Video running time: 03.05 minutes. The film may take time to download depending on your broadband speed.
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If you are having problems playing the video, download the clip here [.mp4, 12MB] (Right click this link, and “Save As”).

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In this short film we look at the perceptual problem of Agnosia. Agnosia is the loss of ability to recognise objects, people, sounds, shapes or smells even though the specific sense is normal and there is no memory loss.

Here we see there are many objects around the sink. Greg has to be able to recognise each one and how it is used. For a person with Agnosia this task can be very difficult.
Notice how Greg not only looks at the toothpaste, he also feels the tube in his hand. He then makes a mistake by reaching for the comb rather than the toothbrush. He knows the object is not right for the task. It takes a few seconds for him to work this out. He then chooses the toothbrush correctly.

Next Greg is looking for his deodorant. He has to look, smell and feel each item before he can correctly select the one he needs. This task could have been made easier for him by only placing the items he needs beside the sink. Too many items can be confusing or distracting.

Tips to help the person with Agnosia.

  • De-clutter. (only lay out what they will need.)
  • Use a simple picture checklist.
  • Give a prompt. ( tell the person what item to find next.)
  • Practice. ( repetition and routines can help the person become more familiar with objects.)
  • Stop and look again. (if the person is about to make a mistake, tell them to stop and check. If they cannot work out for themselves, the carer may need to give a prompt or hand them the correct object.)
  • Use other senses. ( smell, touch and texture of an object can give the person clues.)
  • Don’t take over. (unless there is a safety issue try not to do everything for the person. Let them attempt tasks for themselves with support.)
  • Be patient. ( tasks may take longer.)