Laughter as Therapy for TBI Is No Laughing Matter
[Nicole Wight] Once Michael started speaking, and we knew that he was there, we set up a whole big plan
on how to get him back on his feet and doing things.
I would go to therapy with him all day, and he would have physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech.
Once he started speaking they have a special program that's called recreational therapy.
They would have the recreational therapist sit there and just play with him with clay or pictures, whatever he wanted to do
to kind of get him back to where he needed to be.
We had a really good plan.
When we were in therapy we did everything the therapist wanted us to do.
At night I would take him to the hospital—bathroom. I'd bathe him. I'd put him to bed.
Then I would go downstairs after hours when everything was locked up and closed,
and I'd get on the computer, and I would research all of the things that they weren't doing or that I could be doing.
I would research over and over again his type of brain injury and how can I get him better?
One of the things that I read was that sense of humor is the highest level of brain function
which says a lot about a lot of people.
I figured it was great because we had such great family and friends and stuff that they would help him
kind of get himself back if we joked a lot.
I said funny stories, jokes, TV. I don't care if it's about gross stuff, anything. Just make him laugh.
We'll try and get him to laugh.
They had a little TV in the bed. He would watch SpongeBob, and we would just hear him. He'd start laughing.
He would have this little giggle, and he'd be smiling.
I'd be like, you know what? He's definitely going to be fine.
If he's got this, everything else is just going to be gravy.
We really focused a lot on humor and keeping his humor as a really number 1 forefront thing.
If he's in therapy, how can we make him laugh because if I can continue to keep his highest level of brain function
working then the therapy's going to be easier for him.
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Once Nicole Wight said she learned that laughter was the highest level of brain function, she made humor an integral part of her son's rehab.
Produced by Christian Lindstrom, Justin Rhodes, and Amy Joseph, BrainLine.
In August 2006, Nicole Wight’s mother and her two children were in a terrible car crash. Both children sustained severe traumatic brain injuries. Her mother did not survive.
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