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Old Experiences Help Cognitive Improvement after Brain Injury by William C. Jarvis, EdD

Could I Still teach after my TBI?

Could I still teach?

After my brain injury in 2000, the recommendation was made to return to my previous vocation. I was a college professor and although I had great difficulty walking, I taught one course for three years at the university. This turned out to be the best thing I could have done at the time.

Teaching involved all the skills important to my cognitive improvement, i.e., planning, speaking, creative application, etc. I was fortunate to be able to initiate this as a plan for rehabilitation.

When your past helps cognition after brain injury

Also, my past hobbies of oil painting and performing magic effects were also worthwhile as a rehabilitation technique for my cognitive improvement. What are the intrinsic qualities that make these activities better than completely new experiences? These experiences are built on knowledge already learned prior to the injury; therefore, prior learning reinforces cognitive improvement.  Most TBI survivors have short term memory difficulty, not long term difficulty. Of course, there are always exceptions.

Overall, the reliance on old experiences makes it much easier to see gains in cognitive improvement. There is thinking involved in all activities so it stands to reason that things you are familiar with will only benefit thinking skills. It has been my experience over the last fifteen years that building on these past experiences has been a positive factor in my improvement.

Now I am retired from teaching because of the demands of full time teaching, but have branched out in other related activities I can handle. The difficulties never seem to go away, but a person can achieve success in many other aspects of life. The answer is to never give up trying.