Traumatic brain injuries result in nearly one and a half million American disabilities each year. These injuries can result in a number of problems including but not limited to sleep disorders, memory loss, concentration difficulty, cognitive and motor impairments and loss of multitasking abilities. With an increase in technology, an increase for helping individuals with traumatic brain injury has occurred. These include devices that help work on memory and ease everyday life activities, new technology advancements and getting the cognitive help each individual needs to regain memory functions.
As one can imagine, going through such a traumatic event can be overwhelming to the body and mind not to mention very frustrating for the individual trying to cope with different abilities. Many individuals suffer with memory loss and trouble learning and retaining new information. Many of these individuals are able to regain these memories over time and through help and guidance. One great thing to do is to make things easier through a very structured daily routine and schedule. Technology driven programs that include task reminders, memory notebooks, task lists and reminder programs are great tools to utilize. It is important to review and practice information often, especially any new information. Memory and cue cards can be great tools, as well as incorporating pictures with stories or new experiences (msktc).
There are a number of devices that have been useful for those with traumatic brain injuries. These include devises such as key finders, pill alert systems, and hand-held microcomputers. Visual Assistants can now help support task completions by providing images and pictures along with audio messages with step-by-step instructions (brainline). My great aunt was involved in a car accident and sustained brain injuries in 2010. These devices helped her to live out her final years with greater ease and less frustration. She would often get very frustrated because of her slowed speech and inability to communicate effectively. Devices such as computers and typing devices greatly helped her communicate to nurses and family members.
Understanding what these individuals are going through is a key step in understanding how to help them. Many have trouble processing and understanding information and therefore need people to be patient and helpful. Each individual’s abilities after the trauma can differ depending on where the trauma took place. The brain has five lobes all which functions differ and each can be affected differently or not at all during a traumatic brain injury. The five lobes include; The frontal lobe, parietal lobe, temporal lobe, occipital lobe and the insula. The frontal lobe is responsible for planning and priorities as well as motor activity and speech. The temporal lobe is a sensory area and related to hearing. The occipital Lobe is where much of the visual processing takes place. The parietal lob is responsible for bodily sensations and is a receiving station for sensory information. Lastly the fifth lobe, the insula, is where the ability to use or understand spoken and written language takes place. All of these areas can be affected by a brain injury and all can produce different outcomes in the body of the individual affected. There can be mild to severe brain traumas and functioning thereafter (Koch).
Trauma to the brain is life changing, but understanding the brains functions and the trauma that has taken place is key to further advancements and aids to these individuals. Memory function along with many other cognitive functions can be greatly affected with any trauma to the brain. It is important to continue to work with these individuals and for these individuals to continue to use these areas of the brain to aid in improvement to their current abilities.
“Assistive Technology for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury.” Assistive Technology for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2014. http://www.brainline.org/content/2011/04/assistive-technology-for-individuals-with-traumatic-brain-injury-tbi.html
“Cognitive Problems after Traumatic Brain Injury.” Cognitive Problems After Traumatic Brain Injury. Web. 05 Mar. 2014. <http://www.msktc.org/tbi/factsheets/Cognitive-Problems-After-Traumatic-Brain-Injury>.
Koch, Sarah. “MyBrainNotes™.com.” The Brain’s Cerebral Cortex, or Neocortex, Has Specialized Areas for Language, Sensory, and Emotion Processing. Web. 07 Mar. 2014. <http://mybrainnotes.com/memory-language-brain.html>.