Walter L. Dutton - Writer - Teacher
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Step by Step Success


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During acute post-injury care:

Many cannot speak during this period. Some have difficulty even thinking. Anyone who is comatose is doing neither. But for someone who has verbal function to some degree or the ability to use a hand or hands to some extent, rehabilitation with story is possible.

1. Have loved ones tell you stories about any of your history they can remember. The stories should be told with clear articulation and repeatedly. As days and weeks pass and stories have been repeated, your loved one should begin asking you to try to repeat back to them any or part of the stories. This is especially true of stories which have emotional impact. If possible, begin recording the stories you tell. Be sure any you recall spontaneously, though unrelated to a story being told, are told immediately, recorded and repeated. This begins rebuilding the neural pathways to these memories and with them, the verbal skills of speaking, story telling (communication, liner sequence memory of events, and logic).

2. As soon as practicable, begin doing as much in the way of word puzzles as possible. That may be someone showing you pictures of objects, things or people and prodding your memory. If they can relate a picture to something emotional, that is better. Stories told to connect a picture of a person or group with some event in your memory will eventually connect with the stored memory. Some would say to be cautious about creating memories. I agree but, if you recall some story part not mentioned to you and it is part of a stored memory, you have achieved recall and story creation.

3. As your rehabilitation progresses, recall, write and/or tell as many stories as you can. Fill a journal or computer journal with them. Don't worry about spelling, sentence structure or punctuation. Telling stories is what counts. The more stories you can recall and tell or write with or without prompting, the greater verbal memory connnections you are making - creating your path to healing.

4. Compile stories and revisit them from time to time to see if you can add facts to them. Talk or write about your feelings about every step of the process. The more you express emotion, the more connections to emotion-related memories will be made. Get professional help recreating some of your stories. A professional helping you by asking relevant questions can create oppotunities for emotional connections and insights into stories you may have been having trouble recalling.

5. Keep at this, making it harder and harder, until you feel confident of your memory and story writing or telling abilities. At some point, you will feel far more confident of your ability to recall stories, tell them and write them. Then it is time to begin any education you desire. New learning will be difficult for most of us. It was for me. But new learning is possible once you have made the verbal connections possible and increased your verbal and word-emotion related intelligence to its potential.

Always be prepared for difficulties, setbacks, hard work, being tired or exhausted, but, never quit on yourself.