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I think that Buzan-style, organic mind maps are the preferred visual thinking tool that should be tried by people with cognitive impairment or dementia, as well as the general population.

Of course, not everyone will find mind mapping a natural thinking tool nor will be able to start using visual thinking methods until far into their brain disease or condition.

Given that, there are eight alternatives to mind mapping that I have tried and evaluated for use by PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA OR COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT.

I think that three — Sketch Noting as codified by Mike Rohde, Doodling as promoted by Sunni Brown, and Cartooning as practiced by The Oatmeal — can work quite well for some. I actually sometimes combine one or more of these three techniques with Buzan mind mapping and find the resulting mind maps to be even more powerful. When I don’t have the time to combine techniques manually through sketching, I try to make mind maps with “sketch noting” fonts or icons that are doodle- or cartoon-like.

My ideas as a mind map. Click the image to expand it.

It is very helpful to study the books of Mike Rohde and Sunni Brown along with those of Tony Buzan’s classics on mind mapping and visual thinking.


Note: I was diagnosed with a progressive neurodegenerative disease many years ago. I have found mind mapping and three alternatives have helped me enjoy life and compensate for some cognitive deficiencies.

View much more detailed discussions of these issues in other blog posts on this site.