Because, Bethany’s brain fell and tore blood vessels during the surgery to remove her brain tumor, she is considered to have an acquired brain injury, not a traumatic brain injury.
An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma.
It’s an injury that happens inside the brain and occurs after birth, such as when Bethany suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and a stroke during brain surgery, which resulted in extensive and devastating brain damage.
A traumatic brain injury is an injury that is caused by an external force, such as gunshot wound, getting hit on the head, or banging the head.
As we discovered in my post, A Basic Anatomy of the Brain, damage to the parietal lobe can cause deficits in differentiating right from left, making calculations, sensory functioning, and in the ability to read and write.
Damage to the occipital lobe can cause problems with vision.
So it comes as no surprise that Bethany experiences a continuing struggle with academics and sensory regulation and is also blind on the right sides of both her eyes!
It also comes as no surprise that because of the constant bombarding of her frontal and temporal lobes by seizures all these years, we find it impossible to reason with her, she suffers with challenging and moody behavior, has difficulty making decisions, has difficulty remembering things, does not understand danger, has trouble understanding and controlling her emotions, and has issues processing and understanding long ramblings of spoken language.
And lastly, to top it all off, due to the damage the tumor did to her cerebellum, it’s not surprising that she has challenges with her balance, coordination, and fine muscle control!
Naturally, it’s been our greatest desire to do everything possible to help rehabilitate, repair, and restore functioning to the damaged areas of Bethany’s brain so we sought the help and advice of Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech Therapists.
Even while still in the hospital recovering from brain surgery, we requested that a physical therapist evaluate Bethany and she began receiving physical therapy.
Upon hospital discharge, several physical therapists continued working with Bethany at home for many years.
Physical Therapists have helped her regain the use of her left arm, hand, and leg by strengthening her muscles and working on her flexibility, endurance, balance, and coordination.
Occupational therapists have helped Bethany re-learn how to perform activities of daily living such as: eating grooming, bathing, dressing, and toilet training.
Her OT’s also worked on restoring her critical thinking skills, ameliorating her vision deficits, and regulating her very damaged sensory systems.
It was Bethany’s first Occupational Therapist that recommended using the following devices: the Freedom No-Slip Soup Bowl, Scooper Plate With Suction Base, Freedom Standard Non-Skid Cup Holder, and Good Grip Utensils
Speech Therapists have helped Bethany’s mouth and tongue re-learn the motor skills needed to form the sounds of our language. They also worked on her receptive and expressive language skills.
To help Bethany communicate her wants and needs, her first Speech Therapist recommended that she (and actually all of us) learn sign language, that Bethany learn to use a picture communication system and who ordered her a Go Talk 20, which is a communication device.
These three therapies have assisted Bethany in coming a long way toward overcoming many obstacles on her road to recovery from an acquired brain injury.
She is functioning much better than many professionals predicted she would.
Unfortunately, it has not been possible to completely repair the extensive damage her brain received.
For more information concerning brain injuries, I recommend visiting The Brain Injury Association Of America
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Not too long ago it was thought that the brain was a fixed and unchanging “machine.” Find out in the book, Brain That Changes Itself, how new research on neuroplasticity has proved that our brains are actually to a certain extent, capable of “healing” and rewiring themselves!
The brain is an amazing and interesting machine that is always working, even when we are asleep! Your Daily Brain, shows us all the strange and sensational ways in which our brains work!
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