Compensatory Strategies and Employment

NIH banner    Most of my functional gains are because I learned early that I got the most bang for my buck cognitively, by compensating for the gaps and glitches my brain injury caused.  See this article from 1999. See the attached with highlighting added where I was quoted (page 7): “Many of my peers would be working too, if they had been given the opportunity to learn how to compensate.”   NIH article quoting Moeller from 1994 – emphasis added

The entire article is still on the internet at:

Fast forward to 2014:

If I were being quoted today, instead of saying “learn how to compensate” (which is difficult without the kind of cognitive rehabilitation I was fortunate to have), I would say it this way:

“Many of my peers would be working too if they had the specialized tools and work-focused skills training they need to be able to compensate.”

For those of us with cognitive disabilities, our strengths often lie in being visually cueable.  This, coupled with the residual strength of muscle memory (AKA “procedural memory”), as long as we have accessible visual cues we can reach for, we can level the playing field at home, at work and in our involvement in the community.

After working with hundreds of individuals over 20 years’ time, my research and experience has resulted in a commitment to producing a state-of-the art compensatory system — a cognitive prosthetic, if you will — complete with self-help skills training support and 24/7 support. “Knowing how to compensate” continues to be the key, in my view, to empowerment, cognitive mobility, and sustainable, long-term functional recovery from brain injury and other “cognitive inconveniences.” For a printable copy of the image below: TRI-FOLD brochure

Everything in One Place


Cue Don’t Rescue

cue card

“Cue Don’t Rescue” is one of my mantras. I share it whenever the discussion focuses on empowerment.  Many of us can do a lot more than we ever imagined – attain or at least come within striking distance of our pre-injury level of function – when we train ourselves to use external memory cues. The trick is getting into the new habit of NOT looking in our heads for all the stuff that used to be accessible there.  Instead, we can learn to look for our external memory cues and tools.

The next trick is teaching those around us to cue us to use our external cues and tools, rather than jumping in to do for us, what we can do for ourselves. We don’t need other people to rescue us when we learn to cue ourselves. And others can stop trying to rescue when they start to see that we can do things on our own.

When we go back to work, “Cue Don’t Rescue” is particularly important for us to focus on – and to remind those we work with. See PowerPoint for examples.

CUE DONT RESCUE FOR EMPLOYERS – not updated 2014-07-25