Thursday, June 28, 2012

ABI difficulties, ways to work through them

This is just a little bit of the stuff I'm working through with and around ..........

I have some Visuo-Spatial deficits post op. I find this to be embarrassing at best, frustrating and something I am trying constantly to work with. I have just ordered a high school certificate mathematics workbook online to work my way through. I am also using for brain training as well. If you can think of anything that may help I'd appreciate feedback and suggestions. The bolded things are things I have problems with. Some things I have had difficulty with I have modified the way I do things,

Cooking I use a recipe and go through it before I start, follow it to the letter as i go through and then check it again at the end. I am finding if it is something I cook a lot I need to check the recipe less.

Sewing I have to use a pattern and follow all the instrustions or things just dont work. Pre op I didnt use patterns at all... this is particularly frustrating to me but I realise that I may not get back to patternless sewing. 

I am going to go on Monday to see about starting study again. I expect it will be a challenge but I have to start somewhere!   

Below hijacked from SynapseA Closer Look at Visuo-Spatial Skills

While deficits may occur within each sensory system, the area of visuo-spatial is often more dramatic. Visuo-spatial deficits may include difficulties in the following areas: 

drawing or copying objects
recognising objects (agnosia)
telling left from right - eg on my flight to Sydney my brain kept telling me i was flying in the wrong direction because the sun was on the "wrong" side of the plane.
doing mathematics (discalculia) - I actually have pieces of my mathematics missing. 6 times tables, theorem etc. Some I can do if i have pen and paper most I cannot do in my head
analysing and remembering visual information - this kills me. For a visual person not to remember peoples faces or be able to remember patterns is a bit like cutting my arms off
manipulating or constructing objects - Cannot sew without patterns or instructions ..... totally not the old me 
awareness of the body in space e.g. climbing stairs
perception of the environment e.g. following directions.

People may experience select difficulties or several deficits depending upon the nature of their injury. One well known syndrome involves neglect where the individual ignores certain aspects on one side of the world in front of them, which is most typically the left hand side. For example, a person with neglect may ignore food on the left side of a plate or fail to copy aspects on the left side of a picture.

Retraining skills

One approach involves retraining the skill until the person regains, in varying degrees, the functional skill. Retraining typically involves repetitive and intensive exercises for a specific skill or task e.g. practise at drawing an object while receiving feedback. This approach tends to be more effective with specific skills.

Changing the environment or expectations

A second approach involves modifying the environment to provide more support or reduce the demands of a particular skill. One example may involve building a ramp or fitting a handrail for a person who finds it difficult to climb a flight of stairs to their house. Sometimes, the change in the environment can be as simple as shifting furniture to ensure greater space when walking around the house. The person may also learn to adjust their expectations and educate other people about their difficulties.

Compensatory strategies

People often learn or may be taught a range of strategies to compensate for visuo-spatial problems. These strategies may be as simple as a person learning to turn their head or body to scan their environment, or moving objects into their ideal position. A range of specialised technology or equipment may also be available to fit into a person’s home or assist with community access. Some external prompts may include colour stickers for object recognition, bright lights on the floor, musical or sound prompts, stencils or transparent paper for copying, hand rails and other safety devices. An example of a compensatory approach for object recognition involves the person learning to rely more upon other senses such as touch, hearing and smell. They may choose to shut their eyes to avoid inconsistent information from the visual system. The rehabilitation strategies described may be developed by a neuropsychologist, occupational therapist or physiotherapist. The eventual goal of the programme is greater independence and use of self-management strategies. However, family members, friends and support workers can provide valuable support and reinforcement of rehabilitation techniques.