Brain Injury Dialogues: Rehabilitation
[Brain Injury Dialogues] I had to know when the bus left, what time I had to be at the bus, what I had to do to get to the bus, you know. If I missed the bus, how would I get here. [off-camera speaker] What were my options? [woman] Yeah. (laughs) I think you taught me plan A, plan B, plan C and to, like, have them all. In case I lost one, I could fall back on another one, and that really helped me get out of the house, because I used to get lost when I would leave the house. I remember it wasn't until-- [teacher] I think after you injure your brain, there is often a, kind of what I call, fuzzy-mindedness that develops. [Becky Stone, Speech Pathologist/Cognitive Specialist, College of Alameda] There is a tendency to be a little more spacey, or less focused. [off-camera speaker] I know that well. (laughter) A lot of the time, what people think of as a memory problem is related very much to their lack of focus and their distractability. So, we do a lot of work with that. [off-camera speaker] Cognitive rehabilitation teaches survivors different ways to negotiate the world around them. Simple, every day things taken for granted before an injury, can become impossibly complicated when you can't remember things, aren't able to concentrate, or your understanding of the world no longer operates as it had before your injury. In programs like this one, survivors retrain their thinking. They identify areas where they have difficulties and learn strategies to work around them. For me, cognitive rehab was a cornerstone in being able to get back into my life after my injury. I am always amazed when I hear of a survivor who hasn't yet had this kind of rehab. Truth is, classes like Becky's can make the difference between a survivor sinking or swimming. We have to find the way out. [Teacher] This is the first day I will introduce this assignment called, "Get Me Out of Here." and you'll see it's a pretty complex program where they have to read maps, follow directions, write down--write very precise steps involved in accomplishing a task that's complex and it's a good kind of simulation of the complexity of the real world where you have a lot of things you have to keep together and keep organized and not drop critical pieces. [student] We had to think of what is-- what is--oh, now I can't remember. [off-camera speaker] That's all right. This is an exercise itself, it sounds like.>> Yeah. (laughs) [teacher] My fascination's always been how do we know? How do we understand? And with an acquired injury, there is the history or the knowledge that I used to know this or I used to understand this, and so, we can be Sherlock Holmes and try and figure out what pieces are missing that we used to have and see if we can kind of piece it back together again. But if you've never been able to perform those cognitive skills, it's a whole different kind of ballgame. Is it more difficult, maybe, or is it not necessarily? I'll say from this perspective, the acquired injury is harder because there's the sense of loss. [Brain Injury Dialogues]
Posted on BrainLine May 21, 2009.