Helping Kids Bring Together the "Was" and "Is" of Life with a Parent with TBI

The underlying issue for kids really is managing the discrepancy that they see between the parent as the parent should be and as the parent is known, and as the parent now is to them. And so children are only too aware of the difference between the old and the new parent. And we wanted to find a way of working with children that would appeal to children and that would play to children's strengths, to use what children are good at. And children like to tell stories. They like to do art work. They like to be creative, do crafts. And usually they like to adopt a kind of different persona. So, they decide they're going to be detectives, or they're going to be secret agents, and they're going to discover the secrets of brain injury. And this is the sort of persona they keep for usually the whole process. And so they will start with perhaps searching on the internet with us and for information about brain injury. They go and take photographs of the parent in therapy sessions, usually to try and chart progress so that we can show that the parent was using a wheelchair and now in a few months they're walking, and they're able to document this in a scrapbook that they are able to show family and friends. And there's a really important, I think, bringing together that we kind of see it almost like a Y-shaped model. On one side, we've got the family as it was and we've got the sort of family as it is, and it's sort of bringing together of those two things to try to help children see that not everything's lost, not everything's different. There's lots that the parent can still do. There's lots that is still the same about the parent.

Through crafts, story telling, and collage making, psychologists can help kids manage the discrepancy of who their parent was before his injury, who he is now, and how those two can come together.

See more videos with Dr. Daisley.

Posted on BrainLine December 18, 2012.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough, Justin Rhodes, and Erica Queen, BrainLine.