Technology has helped society evolve, enabling us to work and stay connected more efficiently — social networks are, nowadays, one of the best ways to keep in touch with loved ones who are far away. Computers and smartphones have become tools that we use in our work and personal lives.
The question is, then, how can technology be used to help someone who has suffered a brain injury? Learning — or even relearning — how to work with computers can help the injured get a more firm grasp on certain skills, such as:
- Planning and organizing
- Increasing concentration
- Hand-eye coordination
There are, however, a few things to consider when deciding if technology should be a part of your loved one’s rehabilitation.
Is the patient ready to use a computer?
Learning new skills can, for someone who is living with brain injury, turn into an ordeal full of frustration. Before deciding if technology is something you would like to add to your loved one’s rehabilitation just yet, consider — Has their impulse control improved, at least slightly, so that they will not lash out in frustration? Have their physical injuries healed, so that they can comfortably use the equipment?
It might sound like a great idea to expose the injured person to technology, but, remember — unfamiliar territory can be frustrating for the injured.
Like any rehabilitation program, the computer must meet the injured’s needs
Most likely, you will want the injured person to work with rehabilitation software — which will provide stimulating, fun exercises. This is why you need to carefully select the equipment that will fit your loved one’s needs. Some things to think about:
- Will the person need additional adaptive equipment, such as a screen reader or enlarger?
- How easily can it be customized to accommodate the injured’s needs?
- In cases where the injured is an adult, what are the options for software geared towards their age group?
- Is the software you intend to use compatible with the computer model?
Beware of using children’s learning software
The injured might need help remembering and relearning skills that he or she first learned as a child — an instance where, obviously, a lot of the software you will find will be targeted towards teaching these skills to young children. Most of us learn basic arithmetic at a young age, so it is no wonder that a lot of learning software for it uses colorful cartoons and quirky mascots!
Many injured individuals cope with feeling that they have lost their status as an independent, responsible adult who is able to take care of themselves. In these instances, software that is very clearly designed for children could do more harm than good, and set off unwanted emotional responses.
When dealing with injured adults, simple software that is devoid of distracting and childish themes is usually more successful.
In conclusion — When used correctly, technology can be a great aid in rehabilitation. But, as with any program, care must be taken so that it meets the specific needs of the injured. With the right software, and the right amount of attention and care, technology can be an important and beneficial part of life after injury.