Note: From here on out, I’ll be adding memory and reasoning training to my posts.
It makes no sense for me to have hundreds of readers every day who are looking for TBI recovery solutions, and NOT offer them something to grow stronger. Here’s the first exercise, which you’ll complete when you’re at the end of this post. Get a pencil and paper (you may need to erase and redraw some of the lines) and at the end of this post, you’ll draw the image below on your own.
So, I had my session with the brain trainer yesterday, and it was interesting. They brought a bunch of puzzles and tests with them to try out a bunch of different areas where I’ve said I need help.
- Screening out distractions and staying focused on the task at hand.
- Remembering things over time and not “losing” them when other things get me thinking in other completely different directions.
- Being able to sort through multiple choices and differentiate between things in a logical way.
- Reducing my impulsivity.
That last one is a biggie.
But the other ones are pretty important, as well.
A lot of the tests were visual — connecting dots in a certain way, as well as doing word comparisons and combinations. There were pattern-matching exercises, as well as numerical progression puzzles. I had the hardest time with some of the dot exercises, which were surprisingly challenging. I understand there are lots and lots more of them, which I can imagine would get maddening after a while. I got tired on the dots — more tired than on the others.
One area, in particular, was very revealing — I completely missed a couple of totally obvious answers. Although they were identical to the answers of questions immediately prior to them, the way they were presented was different, and I was rigidly thinking about the cues that I had used before.
All in all, I did pretty well. But the main objective of the training is not to find out how I perform on a scale relative to others, rather to determine how well I can adapt my strategies and come up with other options in my problem-solving. It’s all about learning how to learn. Sharpening your reasoning and differentiation abilities and coming up with creative solutions in the face of challenges.
So, I clearly need some work in flexible thinking. It sounds like really basic work, at a very simple level, however it turned out harder than I expected.
Based on my experience, I’ll be following up with this trainer in August, once my new job is settled and I have an idea about my schedule. My new job will actually put me significantly closer to the trainer, so it will be easier for me to meet with them, than it is now. I’m really looking forward to digging deeper into this, and they are reasonable, so I can save up my money over time to meet with them.
So yes, that was good. And I’m feeling really, really hopeful about the chances of turning around my deficits by conscious practice. I don’t feel quite as “stuck” as I have over the past months of being told that 5 of my 6 deficits remain unchanged after years of rehab. Then again, my focus in that work has been on the one area where I have seen massive progress. So, if I work at the rest of them — in a slightly different way than before — I have hope that I can improve there, too.
Speaking of conscious practice, grab that pencil and paper, and draw from memory the graphic at the top of this post. No peeking. If you’re not satisfied with how you rendered it, study it again in more depth, focusing on the areas where you messed up, and then try again.
I did this exercise yesterday with a graphic that seemed simple enough to me, but after two tries, I had still not gotten the whole picture 100% correct. This is not about perfection… it’s about progress. Of course, if you get it 100% right the first time, then you’ll need more challenging tasks.