Sunday, July 24, 2016

I Remember That Song!

That beginning quote is about savant syndrome. Savant syndrome can be caused by a brain injury, but cognitive skills can be magnified. All the other issues exist. Such is my case. I'm smart as a whip, but only use the one finger this is typed with. Music is seen as a "healer" in savant syndrome. That is only one type of brain injury. Music should be applied to all brain injury.

Music As a Healer

The music of the savant is delightful in its own right, and we are its beneficiaries. But it has a healing aspect to it also for the savant himself or herself. The 60 Minutes program title “Musically Speaking” is an apt one, for as that program demonstrates, and as Soundscape documents, music provides for the savant the “conduit toward normalization,” particularly language acquisition, that I address elsewhere on this site. Recent research documents that musical exposure can increase verbal memory, and with it, language acquisition. With that increased language skill comes increased social skills as well,

Music works for other areas.

Music therapy can do this part shown in the video, because the whole therapy is taking a long time to approve,
I recommend singing for speech problems. "Breath from the diaphragm." I didn't get that advice from speech therapy, but yrs ago from grade school music  (Hint: if you are not producing sound when trying to speak, it MIGHT be breathing. It's not always, but there is a good chance.) 

SOCIAL SKILLS come as well. "Recent research documents that musical exposure can increase verbal memory, and with it, language acquisition. With that increased language skill comes increased social skills as well"

I find the following interesting. Music is used for cognition. It is used to bring back memory and function. This movie is based on a true story. In it, the main character does not speak or function without a certain music playing in the background.

"You know how you hear a song, and it places you back in that moment you fell in love with it?"

I quoted the trailer, but the music therapist takes it further.

I have an idea. Television played a big part in my life and most people I know. My idea is to use old television theme songs. They may bring up long forgotten memories. Here are some. You may add more in the comments.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

In My Face

Neuroplasticity, rewiring the brain, happens. When one part of the brain stops working, another takes over.

It can be seen in my face. It didn't happen over-night. You can see a smile line around my mouth. That wasn't there the year before.

The exercises I did do a lot was the "pucker-smile", exercises #3 and #4. All of these exercises will help-

It has been told to me, and others, that rewiring happens the first year after injury. Mine didn't. It came years later. My injury was 2002. Rewiring did NOT happen in the first year. The pictures are 12/12/2014 and 12/12/2015.

I did exercises daily for that long. Whether or not my smile returned, I did the exercises. I knew they helped my speech.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Opening Hands

(An introductory post to go with this essay.)

Sometimes the hand is left in a fist. Not only do u have to start all over again, but u have to start with an adult body. Both my hands have been fisted. I type this with 1 finger on the hand that was lesser. I knew if I could get 1, I'd get the other. It's coming along, but it doesn't type. Although they both open n close n there is finger individuation, there is more to do. It's already been many yrs. What I describe here can span a few months or a few yrs, it depends on the condition n how fast your body wants to work. I wish mine was over night, but rly it's yrs.

Someone who has been thru it can explain it. We haven't ever had 1 have we? So yes, this is different. 

"Digits should move together. Don't worry about finger individuation yet. First get movement established"

If your hand is fisted, hold a rolled wash cloth. This will give your hand some separating space. The fingers won't be against the palm of the hand. It reduces and may even stop sweating of the hand. It gets the hand used to being open a bit.

A regular to thin wash cloth should do well for holding. The thicker luxury ones may roll too wide to hold.

Throughout the day, squeeze the cloth. You will make your fist tight. It will be in tightening your hand that you make it looser. Squeezing tighter will be isometric exercise.

Eventually you graduate and move up to stress balls, the kind you squeeze in your hand. I used a cheap foam one. Some companies will put their logo on them and give them away. You can find plain ones at stores. These are the cheap foam ones. They do go up in price as you find the gel ones used in hand therapy.

I actually found a picture of the one tied to my wheelchair. A nurse bought this with her other shopping at Wal-Mart. She thought of my fisted hand. She put a hole in it, and threaded gift-wrapping ribbon through it. She used the ribbon to tie it to my wheel chair.
When you squeeze your stress ball, your fingers stay together. You are not individuating them, yet. Finger individuation doesn't come right now. It is the next step.

From the squeeze ball, and even before you are done with it, you can start doing hand therapy exercises. Don't worry if you can't hold your hand wide open. That is what you are striving for. Just do as much as you can right now.

*I use the videos for their information, not their company.