How to set up WORDStim

Standard Set up

Positioning the materials in your Wordstim kit in front of your patient can optimize performance.  The Wordstim manual contains a suggested way for setting up the spinner, card holder, and the scoreboard.

Man reading wordstim card

Typical Wordstim setup that includes card holder, score board and spinner in field.

Modified Set up -Scoreless

Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, some patients may not be able to manage fields with multiple stimuli.  I have worked with patients that because of Dementia, Confusion, Severe Cognitive Impairment, or even visual neglect issues, they could not manage utilizing Wordstim with all of the therapy items in front of them. My solution has been to lessen the number of stimulus items in the field of play.

A few times, I have worked with patients who needed to improve sustained attention and engage better with auditory and visual stimuli. In at least one instance I placed the spinner and the stimulus word cards only.

alternative card setup

Cards are placed around the spinner near their color match.


Patients with limited attention, visual span deficits, or cognitive impairments may benefit from this set up. It eases the demand of scanning for the color match and lessens the steps of each round. This may improve functional tolerance to the task. The clinician can choose to bypass scoring, defer it to another session, or score on her own worksheet and documentation.


alternative game set up

Modified placement with card placement in linear format.



Another modified set up includes the spinner and stimulus word cards arranged in a linear format. The patient will not have to draw from the card holder, but can perform visual scanning when color matching. The clinician can choose to bypass scoring, defer it to another session, or score on her own worksheet and documentation.


Some patients can progress on to interacting with all of the components of Wordstim, including scoring.  There will be patients who have advanced impairments who may never be appropriate for scoring. For example individuals with advanced Dementia, might be better exercising speech and language skills without the quantification aspect of scoring.

The clinician determines the best presentation of materials that will facilitate successful communication cycles (verbal interactions between patients and clinician). Of course having positive and enjoyable experience in the session is important and more likely achieved when the game is made accessible. Please send any questions to Thank you for being a part of our community.

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