After several conversations with survivors of life-threatening adversity, I concluded many survivors rely on the following excuses to justify their fear of technology:
- If I didn’t use it in the past, I don’t need it in the future.
- Technology is overwhelming.
- Remembering instructions is difficult.
- Somebody may see what I am doing.
While I agree each of the four excuses is valid, part of the cognitive recovery formula requires the use of compensation tools such as technology.
Past vs. Future
The world is changing. Even some of poorest nations, such as Kenya, use technology to facilitate improvement. It may be true that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it, but it is also true that those who do not dream about the future are condemned to live in the past. Most people rely on a calculator or a computer for calculations, rather than an abacus or a slide rule. Computers, phones, televisions, cars, and many more items have been enhanced by technology. We, too, should embrace technology.
Too Many Options
Many brain injury survivors report they are simply overwhelmed by the numerous platforms, programs, and tools available to them. I absolutely agree there are more options than any one person can evaluate. However, being overwhelmed is not a valid reason to avoid taking action. You could review summaries of existing technology to see which platforms, programs, and tools are right for you. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with using one solution today and a different solution tomorrow.
Instructions are Confusing
I agree the instructions that accompany phones, computers, and software are frequently confusing. The fact that instructions are confusing is actually to your advantage because you must exercise your brain to find a solution. Cognitive exercise is beneficial to everyone, not just brain injury survivors. If written instructions are confusing, you have an incentive to focus on your learning style to determine how you learn best – reading, writing, listening, or touching. Even if none of the learning styles help you remember, the fact that you have a less-than-perfect memory presents fantastic opportunities to learn compensation skills other than memory.
Big Brother is Watching
Big Brother may know there is a 99.99999% chance only people who have a specific condition use a certain program. Big Brother may know that there is a 99.99999% chance only people who have a memory problem access a certain website. You may get more junk mail if you use a certain program or access a certain website, but the fact is Big Brother could be watching you anyway through your cable, dish, or fiber-optic network; through the GPS in your phone or your car; and even though your credit or debit card. You are not alone, so do not let a fear of Big Brother prevent you for using the compensation tools you need.
What has prevented you from using the technology you need to facilitate your recovery? What technology (devices, software, games, etc.) or other compensation tools do you recommend?