“Clarify and Verify”

“Clarify and Verify” is perhaps one of the most POWERFUL compensatory skills (habits) an individual with cognitive inconveniences can practice.  It’s a common communication technique, but for anyone who is challenged with “mis-hearing,” “mis-remembering,” or other mis’s brain injury can cause this simple phrase often saves the day:

“Let me see if I heard you correctly.  You said (or asked me to) ___________________.  Is that right?”

Then write down the results (or speak the results into you iPad or other recording device). Not only is this good for you (the person asking for verification), it’s good for the person you are talking to.  It’s good for the relationship too.  The two-way communication “street” will be clear of clutter and misunderstanding.  And when others see you writing down the results, they will start to gain confidence that they are heard and you will know, if not remember, what was said and agreed upon. Employers are especially appreciative of this communication practice.  Don’t be surprised if they start using it, and asking others they work with to use it too!

Thank you Francis, for this valuable phrase.

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: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/TBI_1999/Pages/Appendix_A.aspx

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

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