10 Keys to Recovery: For the Brain Injury Survivor and Their Caregiver: KEY TO RECOVERY NO. 4: Retrain Your Brain.

Through the years, we have learned about neuroplasticity, and how it plays a role in the recovery of a brain injury survivor. This is the term that refers to changes in neural pathways, which could be due are due to changes in one’s environment, behavior, as well as changes resulting from bodily injury. Actually, anyone can benefit from this…especially as we age.

Mind Games:  There are many things available to stimulate and retrain your brain. We used several suggestions that Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist who lived through her own stroke used to help herself come back. (My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey.) Some of the activities she used to regain her memories, were adapted for our son when he didn’t seem motivated.

In general, puzzles, brain teasers, and matching games are a great way to stimulate your brain. Watching uplifting programs, listening to CDs with healing messages are also ways to promote healing and creativity. David does the daily search-a-word puzzle in the newspaper, and seems to enjoy his adult coloring books, often uses his tablet to do free puzzles, memory, and matching games.

We originally communicated with David by writing short notes to him. He had a laminated color-coded placard that told him what medication he was supposed to take each day. Then we wrote notes and taped them to his bathroom mirror as to how to do his grooming, etc., and then added notes to cupboards in the kitchen, when certain TV programs were on what channel, added notes to the dashboard of the car, and even ones for the refrigerator and freezer doors!

 Music Therapy:  David was an accomplished guitar player before his accident. He sold his ‘riffs’ to musicians who came into his recording studio to lay down tracks for their original albums. Because music had been such a large part of his life pre-accident, I went in search of someone who could work with him. Eventually, we found a teacher who had enormous patience…who knew David could read music and worked to help him regain (or retain) that part of his brain in order not to lose that music side of himself. It helped restore his confidence, although he has since given up his ‘lessons’, he does practice once in a while.

Eventually, we found a teacher who had enormous patience…who knew David could read music and worked to help him regain (or retain) that part of his brain in order not to lose that music side of himself. It helped restore his confidence, although he has since given up his ‘lessons’, he does practice once in a while.