When Technology Doesn’t Help — The “Brain Injury Rehab Wizard”

Having a loved one who is suffering from brain injury can be devastating — many families of patients will cling to myths of miracle cures for brain injury that do not exist, and many will spend countless amounts of time and money searching for the “right” treatment of professional, hoping that “everything will go back to normal.”

However, in The Nature Of Head Injury — an article published in Traumatic Brain Injury and Vocational Rehabilitation — Thomas Kay, Ph.D. and Muriel Lezak, Ph.D, advise of the dangers of trusting miracle “cures.”

The Wizard has a computer (usually an Apple but now maybe an IBM clone) and an armful of software. They load a diskette, wave a magic mouse, and “presto,” cognitive changes begin to occur. “Your client is unable to work because of memory deficits? No problem. Send him (or her) to the Wizard for a 10-week course of memory retraining, remediate that deficit, and back to work he’ll (or she’ll) go.”

What we must understand about the injured brain, is that it not a muscle that can be “retrained”.

When understood in this context, cognitive remediation (in the narrow sense of specific, often repetitive tasks) or neuropsychological rehabilitation (in the broader sense of modifying maladaptive behavior and cognition using cognitive and psychological principles) can be an essential part of the rehabilitation process after head injury.

The key here is, then, to gear treatment towards helping the injured develop new skills and ways to cope with the limitations their injury has placed on them.


This post is a part of the Debunking Ten Myths Of “Recovery” series. If you are interested in reading the rest of the series, you can view the rest of the posts on the Ten Recovery Myths tag.

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