What exactly is assistive technology for people with TBI and how can it help my wife who still faces many challenges even two years post-injury?
Assistive technology (AT) can make an enormous difference in the lives of people with a brain injury. AT is technically any item used by a person with a disability to increase independence and to make the tasks of daily living easier. AT for brain injury can be as simple as a spiral notebook to help with organization and memory, or it can be as sophisticated as a computer-powered vocal assistant to help with communication.
To learn more about items that might help your wife, see a comprehensive list of AT products for those with brain injury at ABLEDATA (www.abledata.com). ABLEDATA is a comprehensive database of AT products and information offered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.
It is also important to understand that many people with TBI continue to experience challenges months, years, and even decades after their injury. Eventually, simply aging with a brain injury can become a challenge in itself. However, AT might allow your wife to experience greater ease or efficiency in tackling activities of daily living, and some ATs might even offer a therapeutic benefit as well. I suggest that you speak with your wife's healthcare professionals about which ATs may be most helpful to her.
In some cases, ATs may be covered by health insurance. Prior to settling on an AT, it's always a good idea to contact your insurance company to determine the reimbursement rates for each item.
Michael Paul Mason is the founding editor of This Land, a monthly magazine based in Tulsa. Mason's first book, Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath is an exploration into the harsh realities endured by people with brain injury survivors.
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