When I was a senior in high school, I had a physics teacher whose outlook differed from that of most science teachers. Early in the year she told us that when we answered questions on her tests, she did not care about how we came to a given answer. As long as that answer was correct, the method by which it was arrived upon did not matter. Work did still have to be shown as in any other science class. Even if that work bore no resemblance to that which she had prescribed though, a result was perfectly acceptable provided that the answers matched.
In many ways a healthy approach to rehabilitation is similar to this outlook championed by my former physics teacher. Due to their injuries, rehabilitation patients are often unable to complete tasks in the same manner as they did before. For instance, a patient with only one functioning hand will not be able to cut vegetables for a salad as he or she did prior to the injury but utilizing a one-handed rocker knife produces the same results. A patient who has trouble speaking may not be able to verbally place an order at a restaurant but typing the order into an Ipad speech app produces the same results. As you can see, there are often multiple methods by which to accomplish a given goal. Effectiveness is the most important measure of a method’s worth, not whether it is identical to a previous method.
The idea of reaching the same goal through different methods sometimes bothers patients and their families. In some cases, patients and their families refuse to use alternative methods because they are focused on doing things in exactly the same way as they have in the past. A patient completing minor tasks just as he or she did prior to an injury holds strong appeal as a signifier of a return to normalcy. However, due to the injuries this may not be realistic either at this stage of rehabilitation or for the foreseeable future. Accepting alternative methods consistently allows patients to be far more functional in both work and home environments. These alternative methods often allow patients to be more independent whereas insistence upon pre-injury methods can bring with it a dependence on others. It is important that patients and their families embrace alternative methods of accomplishing daily goals so that patients can achieve at their highest levels. This open-minded attitude often yields the best long-term therapy results.
Learn about brain injury treatment services at the Transitional Learning Center: http://tlcrehab.org/