A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when there’s a severe hit or blow to the head, disrupting the neurotransmission of signals from the brain to other parts of the body – in many cases impeding the victim’s ability to perform typical daily activities. This type of brain injury may range from mild to severe – affecting not just the physical aspects of someone’s life, but their cognitive functioning. People with TBI may also experience changes to their personality post-trauma, memory loss, confusion, or impaired judgement.
People who suffer from a TBI must often re-learn how to perform day-to-day tasks or “occupations” that once came naturally to them such as walking, speaking, getting dressed by themselves, bathing or showering. Conversely, if the TBI is less severe, what they may require is assistance when setting out to do pedestrian errands like shopping, preparing meals, or managing their finances. Although the results of the injury can be permanent, many people are still capable of leading valued and productive lives thanks to the care and attention given by their loved ones and other professionals.
These professionals may include psychologists, physiotherapists, speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists. Occupational therapy in particular is a popular form of rehabilitation used to assist people with self-care activities (like cooking or eating), and community navigation (including driving or taking public transit). It helps to recalibrate the brain – teaching it the complex skills needed to live self-sufficiently.
Occupational therapy is different for every client and it is therefore crucial to get a professional assessment. For example, if a client is looking to reintegrate themselves back into the workforce, an occupational therapist can work with their employer to ensure their workstation meets their ergonomic needs. The therapist may also suggest modifications to improve the client’s efficiency while on the job.
For those preparing to return to school, an occupational therapist can communicate with an educational institution on the client’s behalf. They will often work hand in hand with the teachers or professors as well as other professionals including Speech-Language Pathologists to ensure a successful transition. They may for example work with their client on fine motor skills for writing, gross motor skills for physical activity, sensory regulation for emotional well being, and time management skills to ensure the successful completion of assignments.
The good news is that if you’re located in the GTA, there are plenty of options. If you require occupational therapy services from a speech language pathologist in Toronto, the therapists working with Simone Friedman SLS can help you or a loved one who has suffered injury with things like memory, attention span, and organization. As well, they can aid clients in feeling more in control of their behaviour by addressing triggers and agitations. Finally, they guide clients towards a state of better self-awareness and judgement – enabling them to stay safe as they proceed in the direction of independence.
A traumatic brain injury does not mean the potential for leading a high-quality life is lost. Through consistent work and patience, victims and their occupational therapists can find ways to re-train the brain to do the tasks it continues to find challenging.