Ready, Set, Initiate

Ready Set InitiateThose who are recovering from brain injury sometimes become frustrated when recovery doesn’t happen automatically, immediately, or within a few weeks.  The reality is that recovery is an active process which requires initiation, planning, and organization.  Recovery usually does not occur immediately or within a few weeks of passively waiting for it to happen. The challenge with brain injury is that the injury itself can impede initiation, planning and organization — the very skills needed to  facilitate recovery.

The following information is part of a summary that defines the functions and actions necessary to facilitate recovery.  The full study, upon which the summary is based, offers tips and strategies to help not only those with brain injury, but anyone who helps people overcome the challenges of initiation, planning and organization.

The original study was conducted at the University of Washington and the University of Washington Medical Center, however the following excerpt was taken from a summary of the study that appears on the Brainline website.  I am grateful to Cheryl for sharing this with me because, unlike so many summaries of medical studies, the brainline summary was written at a level most people can read and understand. You do not need a Ph.D. in a brain-related field or 50 years of experience in neuroscience research to understand it.

“What is Initiation?

‘Initiation’ is the ability to start doing something. It requires seeing what needs to be done, making a plan about how to start doing it, and putting the plan into action. For example, if a person wants to get dressed they must first recognize the need to get dressed, plan what they will wear, and begin gathering clothing.

What is planning?

‘Planning’ is the ability to choose how to do a task, and to list all the steps of the task. Planning also requires the person to decide what they will need to do the task and estimate how long it will take them to complete it. For example, if a person wants to cook a meal they must decide what they will cook, what ingredients they will need, where they can get the ingredients, what time to start cooking, and how much to cook.

What is organization?

‘Organization’ is the ability to put all the steps of a task (or many tasks) in the correct order. It also includes changing the order of the steps, as needed, so the task can be completed. Organization is also the ability to create logical places to store items and information so that you can find them later.

Why does it affect the ability to initiate, plan, and organize?

Initiation, planning, and organization are thought of as “higher level thinking processes” because they require a lot of brain power. To initiate, plan, and organize, a person needs to be able to think ahead, concentrate, remember things, gather and sort information, and set priorities. If you have damage to the front of your brain, you are more likely to have problems with initiation, planning, or organization. This is because the front of the brain is the part most involved in planning, organizing, and problem solving.”

If you want to read the full article on Brainline, click here.


  1. What tips can you share about organizing?
  2. What tips can you share about planning?
  3. What tips can you share about scheduling?
  4. What tips can you share about initiation?

Thanks to the University of Washington and University of Washington Medical Center for producing the study, Brainline for summarizing the research, and Cheryl for sharing the article.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *