Feel like you’re in a rut on your road to brain injury or stroke recovery? You’re not alone. It’s normal. Keep going, because things WILL change.
You may have heard about the “one-year myth” – that stroke and brain injury survivors have one year during which they can make improvements, and after that, things are as good as they’re going to get. We know from scientific evidence that this just isn’t true. A study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience proved that patients using Constant Therapy improved on cognitive and language tasks post-initial-therapy – and that even patients who were 15 years post-stroke STILL made improvements. So we know – you have way more than one year to make improvements.
Still, even with a great therapy program you are going to hit “roadblocks” or feel stuck in the same place for a while. It’s frustrating. But those are the times you need to reach deep within for that inner strength to keep going!
In the beginning, recovery tends to happen a lot faster, and may not necessarily require as much effort. This is due to something called ‘spontaneous recovery’, where the brain is basically healing from the trauma of the injury, and as a result, physical, cognitive, and language difficulties may improve very quickly. This is especially true in the first days, weeks, and even months after brain injury.
So what happens after that first year? What happens when the brain has done its initial healing? That’s when neuroplasticity comes in. We know that our brain has the capability of reconfiguring its network – our brains can learn to work around damaged areas and begin to compensate.
How do we do this? The answer is targeted, evidence-based therapy, individualized and tailored to your personal goals. Apps like Constant Therapy, and folks like speech pathologists, neurologists, occupational therapists and others can help develop a therapy plan that will guide brain injury survivors in productive exercises to help make progress on their speech, language, and cognitive skills.
During a plateau, it can be easy to lose sight of the progress you’ve already made – but don’t let go of that! Use that progress to motivate yourself to push past your plateau, and move on to your next phase of improvement!