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I have a question about AWARENESS - how long does it take to get to that phase of recovery?

My husband is 11 months post TBI. So far, I think he is still in the Denial phase - he doesn’t see that he has severe memory and cognitive issues. And from what I understand, he can only get better after he becomes aware of his deficits , and starts using strategies to compensate for those. Right now he is very passive in his recovery , and I have to constantly push him to do brain exercises that speech therapist gives him. Otherwise, he could be just sitting on the couch watching videos on his phone all day long ....(

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Speech-Language Pathologist

Answer transcribed from the Brightway Answers interview with speech-language pathologist Amber Kloess:

Every brain injury is completely unique in the way that they recover and how long it takes to recover.  There's no set of instructions for recovery, so unfortunately I don't have an exact answer to how long this would take.

There are different types of awareness.  The first one is intellectual awareness - so knowing that there is a problem.  The second is emergent awareness, which is knowing why a problem occurred. There's also anticipatory awareness, which is knowing that a strategy can help. Every task and every skill level may be different but those are the different types of awareness that you can push for through recovery.

It’s also worth focusing on what motivates your husband.  Does he need more education on brain injury and how it can affect his behavior or his cognitive functioning?  Does he need more strategies introduced, like alarms on his phone or sticky notes as reminders?

Sometimes just being honest and reviewing his strengths and challenges can help.  Those are all tips and tricks that can help with the awareness piece.  Being able to explain things in a concrete manner - and as much as you may sound like you're a broken record - I would suggest repeating the challenges but also the strengths to make sure to capitalize on his strengths.

I wouldn't say awareness can necessarily be sped up.  There are different areas where we can introduce a task and have someone estimate how they will do on it.  For instance they'll say they’ll get 100%, I can do the task with no problem, but then they do the task and get 40%. That will probably not make them very happy, but might bring about some awareness.  But this is something I don't do very often because it causes anger and frustration, which can be counterproductive.


I'm four years post TBI, I have fully accepted my memory deficit and to some I am still a bit "in denial" about the extent of it. But the pushing him to do things is good, I believe we need so much encouragement to do things at times. But what has helped me some, especially during my early recovery was being on a stimulant, i currently take Adderall and they started me out on Ritalin.


My guy is eight months post accident. He’s just starting to realize the seriousness of what happened. However, there are days that he just refuses to except he is injured. And that he needs to heal.

I have found it very helpful, to have clinicians tell him where he’s at, and how he is doing. It seems to have more of an Effect that if we tell him.

Is your guy a member here? He might find it helpful.

My guy has found it helpful reading other people’s posts, when they’ve had an accident kind of like his, to realize how far along he has come. Good luck