Cognitive problems are the most common lingering symptoms of those who have made a good recovery from a traumatic brain injury. Fortunately, cognitive rehabilitation can at least help reduce some of these problems.
Cognitive rehabilitation is training for the brain and for the victim of a brain injury. Depending on the extent of your brain injury, cognitive rehab can help repair your brain’s neurological connections so that you can function at a higher level, or it can train you how to function with your limitations.
Some cognitive rehabilitation processes focus on retraining your entire brain. In these, you might undergo repeated exercises doing the same thing over and over. While these are necessarily repetitive, they are designed to reorganize your brain’s “wiring” so that the brain is more functional across a number of different areas.
Some cognitive rehab processes focus only on certain skills that are giving you problems. For example, if your brain injury causes you problems with drinking out of cup, you will undergo specific training to help you re-learn how to use a cup. Alternatively, if it is too difficult to re-learn how to use a cup, you might be trained in alternatives, such as easily using a straw.
Because attention deficit and memory issues are the two most common symptoms of brain injuries, there are a number of different cognitive therapy procedures that can be used to help you improve in these areas. In a typical situation, you would undergo exercises designed to re-train your brain, as described earlier. You might also receive training in how to use memory strategies, such as mnemonic training (mnemonic’s are learning/memory aids — such as the old Roy G Biv we all learned to remember that Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet were the colors of the rainbow). You would receive training to teach you how to create and use these type of memory aids in a number of different areas of your life. Memory training might also include learning how to use external cues — things that are designed to remind you of other tasks — or learning how to use a “memory notebook” — to journal things you are supposed to remember in the future.
Fortunately, studies have shown that a holistic approach that incorporates a number of different types of cognitive rehab processes can help you improve on your brain function, though most studies show that even with the best cognitive rehabilitation, victims of traumatic brain injuries still show problems.
Unfortunately, cognitive rehabilitation is very expensive. In a 2009 letter to the United States Congressional Budget Office officials, the president of the Brain Injury Association of America estimated that the average cost of cognitive rehabilitation was $27,000.00.
If you want to learn more about cognitive rehab, additional resources are available:
- What Is Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy? (Society for Cognitive Rehabilitation)
- Cognitive Rehabilitation For Children & Youth (Brainline.org)
- Taking On The Military Establishment: Keith Cicerone Is Working To Ensure That Soldiers With Traumatic Brain Injuries Are Getting The Help They Need (American Psychological Association)