Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Dream Brain Injury Support Group

If I was going to start a support group for people with brain injuries, this is what it might look like. Using the model of the Responsive Classroom, my goal would be to create a psychologically comfortable environment where everyone present feels significant, important, and included. We could start with a question or poll of the month posted on a board so everyone signs in when they arrive. For example: What was your biggest obstacle this month? or What did you do in the last week (or today since we have memory problems) that makes you feel most proud?

Name tags would ready and there would be some blanks for new people. There would be a growing face book poster or wall with first names and photos so everyone would have a fighting chance to remember each other's names. I would give everyone five minutes to say hello to each other and settle in before beginning the formal part of the meeting.

If we had a topic, I (or more likely a facilitator because I am not great with time, taking turns, or staying on topic) would ask the folks to turn to a partner and discuss. Then after a few minutes, each person would share what the other person said. That way we could all practice listening to each other and remembering what the other person said.

We would play games where everyone could participate. The games could help us build cognitive or social skills. Maybe someone would be "the expert of the month" and share a useful article, resource, or strategy she discovered. Maybe we could do some simple crafts.

We would work on problem solving skills to bring back home with us when we leave. We would learn relaxation techniques or simple stretches and practice them.

These are just some ideas I am playing around with right now. We have slim pickings her in New York City. I know it seems bizarre. Since we have such a huge population, you would think there would be more available. There are certainly enough folks out there with brain injuries.

How many TBIs does it take to start a support group?

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