For anyone suffering from a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) .
Relearn your lost cognitive abilities
Part I: The Approach taken to these exercises
The approach these exercises take was shaped by research in neuro-cognition. Unlike many other games or exercises, I am NOT interested in you winning a game or solving a problem: but in how you win a game or solve a problem. It's a similar idea to the old saying "Give a fish to a hungry man, and you will feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he'll never be hungry again". If you learn from these exercises how to solve a certain problem, then when you come across a similar problem in real life, you can apply that knowledge to solve it. But in order for this form of cognitive therapy to work, YOU have to play an active role. You must concentrate on how you solved a problem.
By the way, “How to solve a problem” is a key aspect in understanding animal and human behavior. After all, every animal or human must solve problems to survive. For instance, a wasp must eat. You’re enjoying a picnic with your family or loved ones. Suddenly, your tranquility is disturbed by a hungry and pesky wasp. How did that wasp find your picnic? It’s not an easy answer, because the smell of the food drifts and changes as the air moves and the wind blows. How an animal or human solves a problem is sometimes called the “Algorithm” it uses to solve the specific problem.
Also, each exercise allows you to save your results for each exercise, to see how your technique was in completing the exercise. In this way, you can improve you technique, or abandon it for a totally new technique and compare its effectiveness to the old technique. In a sense, these exercises help you to develop the way to solve a problem which suits you best. And after all, we are all individuals with different needs and abilities, and no one size fits all
Unfortunately, I’ve been told by my therapists, that no therapy will restore your abilities to what they were before your TBI. The idea behind therapy is to haul out as much of your old abilities as is possible. Additionally, they said to me that I will continually get better, but never be cured. Furthermore, they added that any gains you have made through therapy have to be maintained, and that the frequency that I get therapy might change according to my progress (e.g. from physical therapy from twice a week to once a week), but never come to an end. So these exercises I’ve made maybe useful to you throughout the rest of your life.
Part II: How the exercises work (a short lessen on biological adaptation)
“Use it or lose it” is the key phrase which describes how an organism adapts itself to fit into its environment. And the process never stops.
For example: learning a foreign language. You may have spent what seemed like eons of years learning French or Latin, but if you do not use them often, they will be forgotten. You may have had the ability, but without using it, you will lose this ability.
Another example: You work in a factory, stacking bars made of Iron. These bars are heavy, and you soon become very strong. The boss thinks that you are a good worker, and thus promotes you to a management position.
Now you spend the whole day behind a desk filling out forms and other paper work. No more heavy lifting. Maybe your ability to fill out forms improves, but your muscles will turn into flab, and you eventually become too weak to lift a single bar of iron.
These are examples of how your body adapts to the conditions it’s facing. You may call it “Learning”, or as an old friend once called it “Toughing up to it (the situation)”. But whether spending your life lifting heavy bars of iron or deducing new quantum theories, the same process is at work: generating new muscle fibers or synaptic connections when used; or losing them if they are not used.
This continual process of adaptation results in having a brain and body that is best suited for its environment. And it continues through out your life.
Sadly, another way of losing these abilities is through suffering a head (brain) trauma. But since this process of adaptation through generation and degeneration continues through out your life, one can re-learn these lost abilities: and that is what therapy is all about
But re-learning can be just as hard, or even harder, than when you first learned these abilities as a child at school. It requires repetition and hard work. What’s the saying? “No Pain, no Gain?” Let’s be honest now – you have suffered a set-back, and to gain back what you have lost is going to require work and discipline.
In school, they give you homework to cement into your brain what you have learned during school. Homework plays an essential role in learning. Since much of rehabilitation is all about re-learning lost abilities, I guess that you can call what I have programmed “Occupational Therapy Homework.” It’s the supplement to therapy, just as homework is the supplement to school work.
Unfortunately, the cost of commercially available rehabilitation cognitive exercise, being a selective market, puts them out of the reach of the people who need them most. This lack of “Homework” limits the benefits of these exercises to rehabilitation. Therefore, I programmed my own set of rehabilitation “Homework” exercises and, with my therapists' support and encouragement, I want to offer them to you for free.
The package contains:
1) Over 70 exercises that work on the attention, memory, logic, fine motor control and integrated aspects of your brain.
2) An additional program for examining your progress over time.
Many of the individual games in the package include:
1) The ability to set parameters (such as difficulty of the game, or which muscle group it helps train)
2) A statistical graph at the end of each game showing your results
(See my About Me page)
* Neuro-Cognition is the study of the neurological mechanisms underlying Cognition / Behavior.