This Survival Kit was developed originally by Debbie Leonhardt after her brain injury dramatically changed her professional and personal life. Working with her therapist, she developed practical tools and strategies that helped her deal with the challenges of learning how to live with the cognitive challenges that made each day a struggle to simply survive. Her early workbook was the basis of this expanded 208 page organiser and planner. While it was specially designed for persons with brain injuries, it can be used by persons with other disorders affecting memory, planning and organisational skills.
The Survival Kit can be used at any stage of the rehabilitation process and the survivor’s recovery. Many clinicians and therapists are using it as part of a cognitive rehabilitation programme. Some families and caregivers are using it to reinforce the development and use of compensatory strategies at home and in the community. Some individuals are using it independently as part of their daily or weekly routine.
The Kit’s flexibility encourages users to select the sections and strategies that are most useful and relevant for their situation and needs. The seven sections include schedules and calendars, journals and logs, daily living checklists, visual reminders, treatment tasks and goals, personal and household information, and daily survival strategies. There are samples with written information that show how to use the various forms, calendars and checklists.
Guide for Using the Survival Kit
This Survival Kit is designed to be used by a wide variety of persons with brain injuries or brain disorders. Different levels of assistance may be needed for survivors to use this manual. Some may be able to set up and record their responses. Others may need the help of family members or cognitive therapists. In some situations, someone may have to write for the survivor.
This manual can be used at any point in the recovery or rehabilitation process. Repeated and continuous use will help persons whose memory has been affected to become more organised.
Schedules & Calendars
Several choices are given for daily and weekly schedules. Schedules and calendars are designed to help the survivor organise daily activities into a logical sequence. They may also be used to prioritise assignments, appointments, and errands. Important items left unfinished should be carried over to the next schedule or calendar.
Journals and Logs
These materials help the survivor develop and maintain a sense of personal history and perspective. The Daily Journal can be used to record important feelings, thoughts, judgments, and events.
The Personal History Log can be used to record one or two significant events that occur each day for a month. It may be especially useful for individuals who have difficulty remembering dates or being aware or being oriented to time. Writing information down and seeing it can help a person understand the passage of time and what has happened over time.
Daily Living Checklists
Checklists in this section are designed to help the survivor with personal hygiene, meal preparation, maintaining a household, driving, and taking medication(s) as prescribed. The Employment Checklist emphasises skills necessary to function in the workplace.
This section contains visual reminders that are designed to minimise the survivor's reliance on memory. They may be copied and posted in useful places where the survivor lives. Suggested locations include near the door most often used to enter or leave the home, near the kitchen stove, and/or on a bulletin board.
Treatment Tasks and Goals
The materials in this section are designed for use primarily during rehabilitation sessions with the assistance of a cognitive therapist, counselor or therapist. These aids are particularly useful for periodic patient self-evaluation. They also help the survivor and family focus on issues that are essential to cognitive recovery.
Personal / Household Information
This unit has phone numbers, addresses, and other important personal information that might be needed daily. Financial management and budget worksheets help the survivor keep track of information that might be lost due to impaired organisational skills.
This section is a collection of techniques to help the survivor simplify daily tasks, communicate effectively, and cope with difficulties experienced as a result of memory loss or attention deficits.
Click here for examples of completed forms.