What Have We Learned FROM OUR CLIENTS About The Brain?

From Meg Scaling, OTR/L:

“It is hard to put into words what I have learned from working with clients who have endured a traumatic brain injury.  I have learned that the brain wants to get better.  It wants to heal, and it wants to get back to the way it used to be.  It also is very efficient, and if something is too difficult it may want to avoid the task in order to save energy.  Therefore, if we let the brain rest, it is efficient, and it will continue to rest.  If we overload the brain with too much information and make it do things it is not ready to do, it will also shut down in a self-protection response. This occurs for example when someone is taken into a noisy store, sporting event, or family party, and the individual feels that they need to retreat within a few minutes of the overstimulating environment.

Over time and because my clients have entrusted me with helping their brain heal, I have learned that we need to continue to push the brain (not too fast, and not too slow) and we need to challenge the brain to keep healing.  There is no such thing as plateau.  It is impossible.  The brain will keep healing, we as therapists just need to keep it challenged.”

How We Should Approach Therapy in a Clinic Setting?

We are opening up Galaxy Brain and Therapy Center.  At Galaxy, we will be continuously researching and learning new and effective ways to stimulate the brain.  We will also be doing research ourself so that we make sure that what we are doing proves to be effective and efficient.  We will teach simultaneous whole brain exercise where the right and left half of your body, your arms and your legs, and your body, eyes, and mind will be working together at one time.  No more weight machines and typical exercise alone.  We will be tapping into old motor pathways, for example, having you swing a golf club, baseball bat, or shoot a basket if you used to be an athlete and played those sports.  We will attempt to get your brain to remember how it felt to move that way.  We will build from that and continue to challenge your brain and body in ways that are supported by neuroscience.

We are so excited to be a part of changing the way therapists treat clients, and we promise to be intentional about every minute of time we spend with our clients.

How Can Community-Based Occupation Therapy Help?

Occupational Therapy (OT) is uniquely able to work on physical rehabilitation of the body and cognitive rehabilitation of the mind, as well as utilize a holistic approach to trying to regain confidence in the person as a whole. We do this by helping our clients set and attain goals that are based on improving independence in areas of work/vocation, home management, safety, community based tasks, physical strengthening, cognitive rehabilitation, and self care. Occupational Therapy will assess an individual’s variety of roles in life (both past and present) and work on setting goals to help that individual regain confidence and ability in fulfilling those roles in life again. The ultimate goal of occupational therapy is to help an individual achieve joy in life once again.

What to Expect When You Have a Therapy Referral

At Life Skills Community Rehabilitation and Associates, our therapy evaluations will look and feel much different than the evaluations that might occur in a hospital setting or orthopedic clinic. We understand that each individual as unique deficits and concerns and we modify our evaluations to address the needs of the individual, without putting them through unnecessary testing. Some individuals may require a full home safety assessment, physical assessment, vestibular assessment, as well as self care or ADL (Activities of Daily Living) assessment for example, others, may only need one or two of those aspects evaluated. In general our evaluations a very comprehensive and will tell a story of who the individual was prior to the injury, their current level of functioning, and what goals we need to set in order to help our client regain independence in those areas again. We understand that individuals may only tolerate a short interview, or may be nervous to have a therapist in the home. We will do our best to speak with the individual prior to the appointment so that the individuals feel comfortable with our arrival and we are willing to take multiple visits to complete portions of the assessment.

Our Approach

As stated in our Mission Statement, our approach involves using the natural treatment setting and reaching out to treat individuals in the communities where our clients work, live and play whenever possible.  We also will encourage clients to attend whole brain exercise therapy in the clinic setting when ever possible, because we truly feel that it is beneficial to everyone.  If and individual is unable to attend, we will do our best to bring whole brain exercise to you if we are able.  We understand that many of our clients may have traumatic brain injuries and may have been masking their deficits (hiding them) for years, with the idea that over time the deficits or problems might go away or get better. Often we find years of mail, paperwork, household projects, and clutter that have accumulated over time because our clients simply have not had the energy, concentration, or ability to address those areas of their home after their injury. Our approach in occupational therapy involves making sure that we help our clients organize their home so that it is once again functional for their unique abilities, provide compensatory tools that help individuals maintain organization and teach skills so individuals can once again take over house hold functions. We also work on improving many other areas of functioning including basic self-care, safety, and community reintegration. Community integration includes helping individuals to overcome anxiety, PTSD, and cognitive or decision making problems for example, to begin to perform basic shopping, driving, and leisure tasks again. Each treatment is as unique as the individual we are working with.

Resources are available to help families as well as support groups, discussion boards, and articles.

Go to New Referrals for information on referring new patients to Life Skills Community Rehabilitation and Associates, LLC