Understanding Brain Injury: The HANDLE Perspective
Here’s a quiz. Do you need to bump your head to have a head injury? Do you need to lose consciousness to have a head injury? Does damage need to show up on a brain scan to have a head injury? If you answered no to these three questions, you are correct.
Brain injury is the result of any incident that causes death or injury to brain cells, resulting in a temporary or permanent loss of function. Brain injury can occur before, during or after birth and can be the result of toxic substances, blows to the brain, sudden movement of the head, disruptions in blood flow, direct injury or even illness.
In the case of many traumas, such as a car accident, the brain injury and resulting loss of function may be apparent immediately. In other cases, such as with whiplash, falls or some sports injuries that result in rapid movement of the brain in the skull, the impact may appear later and be more subtle. In these situations, the person may not lose consciousness and brain injury may not show up on a typical scan. These varying types of injuries may be labeled severe or minor, but either way, the impact on day-to-day life can be devastating.
Difficulties with speech and motor function are obvious results of some brain injuries. Less obvious results can be altered muscle tone, visual disturbances, light sensitivity, extreme sensitivity to sound, trouble with balance and bumping into things, delayed processing, memory problems, trouble multi-tasking and fatigue. Often overlooked factors that may contribute to these difficulties are weakening of the vestibular (balance system) and interhemispheric integration (communication between two sides of the brain) as a result of the brain injury.
HANDLE (Holistic Approach to NeuroDevelopment and Learning Efficiency) supports improvement in these subtle impacts of brain injury through organized movement activities designed to strengthen these systems and others.
A key principle within this approach is the concept of Gentle Enhancement®—recognizing that stressed systems don’t get stronger, they get weaker or they shut down or break down. Activities within a HANDLE program are done only to the point the nervous system can accept without physiological stress. A full program may take only 15 to 30 minutes a day, and yet have profound, life-changing results.
Kimberly Lauger became a certified HANDLE practitioner after her own child with irregular brain function showed such a change following his HANDLE program. Lauger will share more about the HANDLE Perspective and Brain Injury, including tips and tools to make life simpler, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., January 17, at the Redtail Healing Center.