© 1998 Head Injury Hotline
Skills Self Test
Williams, 1976 - 2002
of Washington 'Husky"
Let's hear it for
TBI survivor Colleen
to the Trench
hit your head
in a auto wreck six months ago and you still don't feel like your old self.....
You had a whiplash in a fall on the job last year; your doctor says you
're ok, but most days you feel as though you are in a fog..... Your
16 year old son had a pretty bad head injury five years ago, he used to
be an "A" student but, now he may not graduate high school....
your temporal lobe when you fell down a flight of stairs nine months ago
but, now you have the feeling of being outside of your body and your doctors
don't have any answers for you.... Your head was "dinged,"
or "your bell" rung in practice last year, you're still up to par in the
work you just don't seem to be able to get things done the way you used
to.... In the classroom learning has become more difficult; things
don't stick in your mind the way they did before your head injury....
You fly off the handle with little or no provocation.... Your
behavior is erratic and often inappropriate.... You have difficulty
expressing your self ...
Explanation. Though not always visible and sometimes
seemingly minor, brain injury is complex. It can cause physical, cognitive,
social, and vocational changes that affect an individual for a short period
of time or permanently. Depending on the extent and location of the injury,
symptoms caused by a brain injury vary widely.
Some common results of brain injury are difficulties
with memory, mood, and concentration. Others include significant deficits
in organizational and reasoning skills, learning, cognitive, and executive
functions. Recovery from a brain injury in many cases is incomplete. In
such cases recovery becomes a lifelong process of adjustment and accommodation.
Recovery from a brain injury can be inconsistent.
In many cases gains are be closely followed by setbacks and plateaus. A
"plateau" is not evidence that functional improvement has ended. Typically
plateaus are followed by a series of gains.
in memory and organizational skills after a brain injury makes it difficult
to function in complex environments. This page and its links has been designed
to help you create a compensatory system, teach you how to use it and monitor
how well it is working.
This page provides practical suggestions
for gathering information and developing effective action plans for coping
with the memory, cognitive and organizational difficulties casued by brain
It describes methods for collecting critical
information and facilitating communication among your support network.
Links to worksheets and interview guides helps identify goals and gives
step by step information on achieving your goals.
This page was designed to give meaning and
form to the nature and scope of brain in daily living. It can be used identify
current strengths, needs and strategies for restoring lives shattered by
Links to checklists and compensatory strategies
will proviede a foundation for negotiating accommodations at home, in school,
and in the work place. It can be used independently or with therapists
to identify current strengths, weaknesses, and strategies to long-term
solution. Mild traumatic
brain injury can cause impairments in thinking skills that can result in
long term difficulties. If this happens to you and your difficulties last
longer than a few months you should contact
us for referrals and information on strategies for
coping with brain injury.
Below is a list of essential
skills for everyday functioning that can become impaired by mild
traumatic brain injury. The skill builders below can help you strengthen
the infrastructure on which you rebuild your life after brain injury.
Our mission is to assists you to reach your potential by providing quality
information, referrals and direct services. 206-621-8558
Essential Skills for Everyday Functioning
area # 1
Behave Appropriately in situations that are:
General Fund of Information and Social Common Sense
|1. Routine & Familiar
skills you need include:
|Common Sense Skill Builders:
|(1) Bone up on social skills.
(2) Stop, and think before acting.
(3) Reaffirm your values and priorities.
(4) Become more sensitive to emotional needs of others.
(5) Plan Activities.
(6) Use a planning calendar, electronic or paper.
(7) Keep birthday and social calendars.
(8) Keep a personal Journal
of Daily Activities.
(9) Keep a Wellness
(10) Sharpen your mental edge, read, study, attend lectures and continuing
(11) Practice being in the moment.
(12) Reacquaint your self with meaning and uses of social cues, social
subtleties, and body language.
(13) Keep up with current events, and topical matters of interest to
(14) Anticipate responses of your self and others.
(15) Role Play situations that might startle, or upset you.
(16) Request clarification of matters at hand, even when you think
(17) Review and reaffirm roles of parties, and timelines.
(18) Re-negotiate deadlines
(19) Clarify Goals
(20) Refine and review your personal Safety
those who have helped you.
|Q: To Behave Appropriately
in situations that are:
|1. Complex & Novel
skills you need include:
Logical, analytical skills
New concept formation skills
3. Problem solving skills
4. Attention skills
|Problem Solving & Analytical Skill Builders:
|(1) Review and refine critical
(2) Review and refine problem
(3) Give yourself extra time to review and consider all options.
(4) Perform risk benefit analysis.
(5) Examine your motivation.
(6) Engage in low stress, attention building activities such as computer
games, jig saw puzzles, mazes, card, electronic, board games, etc.
(7) Analyze how you spend your time
(8) Practice biofeedback, meditation, or deep relaxation.
area # 2
Follow detailed procedures in an adaptive fashion you
1. Reliable Memory -- go to Memory
you need include:
1. Sequential thinking and cognitive flexibility.
2. Learning and recall of verbal and nonverbal
|Memory Skill Builders:
|(1) Routinize your activities — identify each step involved, follow
each step in its proper sequence.
(2) Stop, and think before acting.
(3) Remain flexible.
(3) Keep detailed notes and records.
(4) Utilize a reliable storage and retrieval system.
(5) Employ cross references.
(6) Review and update your reference materials.
(7) Take review and refresher courses.
(8) Take a memory enhancement course.
(9) Keep an appointment book.
(10) Write yourself reminder notes.
(11) Post cheat sheets at eye level in your work station.
(12) Utilize, reference materials, highlighters, margin notes, and
(13) Plan your daily
schedule in advance.
(14) Mental repetition.
(15) Make associations with other things that will trigger your memory.
(16) Keep things you need to do in a prominent place where you will
(17) Employ a reminder or tickler system.
(18) Trust your instincts.
(19) Practice being in the moment.
(20) Utilize reminder or tickler system.
(21) More Memory
area # 3
Essential skills you need:
Expressive and receptive language
1. People Skills
2. Listening skills
|Communication Skill Builders:
|1) Tape record your favorite commentators, use the tapes to rebuild
and refine your own expressive style.
(2) Include dictionaries of language usage among your recreational
(3) Practice listening
skills. Ask for clarification of roles and timelines, especially
when you think you understand.
(4) Summarize action plans
(5) Put action
plans in writing.
(6) Anticipate and role play responses typical and novel situations.
(7) Refine your management
and leadership skills.
area # 4
Essential skills you need:
|1. Manage correspondence
2. Manage finances
3. Manage reading
1. Writing, spelling, math, reading recognition and comprehension
|Academic Skill Builders:
|(1) Organize your correspondence.
(2) Write down your thoughts as they come to you.
(3) Utilize charts to track correspondence and finances.
(4) Use an electronic dictionary and thesaurus.
(5) Use calculators, the wrist watch style is convenient and handy.
(6) Tackle difficult or complex matters when you are fresh and rested.
(7) Read and re-read difficult or complex materials.
(8) Utilize dictionaries of language usage.
(8) Confirm your impressions of the meaning of written materials with
a trusted, knowledgeable friend, family member, or associate.
(9) Take bonehead or refresher courses.
area # 5
Manipulatory tasks and self-care activities
1. Essential skills you need:
Speed, strength, fine motor coordination, tactile skills, vision
|Strength and motor Skill Builders
|(1) Start a fitness program, but first, consult your doctor.
(2) Activities that enhance your motor coordination, strength and response
(3) Analyze your feelings, especially those that you think of as pain
(4) Have your vision checked by a doctor who specializes in treating
vision disorders that result from head injury.
area # 6
Driving, and use of dangerous tools and appliances
Essential Skills you need:
a. Judgment and flexibility, attention, nonverbal memory, constructional
skills, right-left discrimination.
|Safety Skill Builders
|(1) Take a defensive driving course. Drive only when you are rested,
fresh and traffic is light.
(2) Plan you route, use a map, allow extra time.
(3) Empty your head of other thoughts while you are in traffic.
(4) Be extra tolerant of other drivers.
(5) Let go of your ego.
(6) Choose a familiar route and stick with it.
(7) Practice being in the moment.
area # 6
1. Essential Skills:
Correct appraisal of potential limitations and strengths
|"...The internet elevates a
doctor-patient relationship into a partnership."
have been finding ways to be better informed and have been acting as their
own best advocates for some time." "Doctors generally
welcome a more educated patient." --The New York
"We are in the early stages of a transformation
that will lead to the real practitioners of medicine --being the
lay person in the family, and in the community-- and
we health professionals can be coaches and supporters of self-care."
-- Tom Ferguson, MD Founder of Medical Self
Care Magazine; Medical Editor of the Millennium Whole-health Catalogue;
Author of Health On-Line, Addison Wesley, 1996