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Drowning Prevention

By Blog, News, Resources

PREVENT DROWNINGS AND POOL ACCIDENTS THIS SUMMER

69% of young children who drowned were not expected to be in or near water! These could be swimming pools, lakes, rivers, or even bathtubs!

Anoxic brain injury is not usually caused by a blow to the head. Instead, anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen, such as drowning.

Top Things to Know

  1. Secure your pool with appropriate barriers.
  2. Designate a water watcher and stay within arm’s reach of young children.
  3. Install anti-entrapment drain covers and safety release systems to protect against drain entrapment.
  4. If a child is missing, check the water first.
  5. Install a secondary barrier, such as door alarms and locks that are out of the reach of a child on all doors and windows with direct access to the pool or spa area, and lockable covers.

Establish and Enforce Rules and Safe Behaviors

  1. Do not enter head first unless in a pool that has a safe diving area.
  2. Stay away from drains and other openings that cause suctio
  3. Swim with a buddy.
  4. Only swim when supervised by a water watcher.
  5. Swim sober.
  6. Supervise others sober and without distractions, such as reading or talking on or using a cell phone, as an accident can happen in seconds.

Take These Water Safety Steps

  1. Employ layers of protection including barriers to prevent access to water, life jackets, and close supervision of children to prevent drowning.
  2. Ensure every member of your family learns to swim so they at least achieve skills of water competency: able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, change position, swim a distance, then get out of the water safely.
  3. Know what to do in a water emergency – including how to help someone in trouble in the water safely, call for emergency help and CPR.

More information at:

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety/home-pool-safety.html25

https://articles.bluehaven.com/safety-rules-for-your-backyard

https://www.spinalcord.com/anoxic-brain-injury

~Karl K & the Social Media Group

Wedding Season is Here

By Blog, News, Resources

The month of June has traditionally been seen as the best month for weddings, but why?

This tradition stems from the Roman goddess whom the month is named after, Juno.

Juno was the goddess of marriage, home, and family so June developed into the month for weddings, So much so that songs have been written about this. It is even said if a bride were married in June, she would be married the rest of her life, but does this mean you will not be happy if you get married in a different month? I do not believe so.

When I discovered that I had a brain tumor in 2020, I realized I needed to hold my wedding sooner than I had originally planned.  We decided on August because it was a good time in between my treatments. Then we had to look at venues, inside or outside depending on the weather, because August is hot, so we decided on inside. We also needed to decide how many guests we wanted to have, but we had a small wedding that ended up being the wedding we wanted.

There are many things to consider when planning a wedding and deciding which month is right for you is important. You also need to decide on where it will be. So, June does not have to be the month you get married in, any month you choose will be special for you.

I have also heard the saying “If it rains on your wedding day it is good luck.” Stemming from Hindu tradition, it is said if you tie the knot, and it gets wet it will be impossible to break. So, you may not be happy it rains but look at it as a bright silver lining for the day– my parents did. Thankfully, June tends to be rainy in many places like North Texas. Still, any day you pick is special to you.

Another wedding tradition, which comes from Victorian era England, is something old (the tie between the brides past and her family) something new (the new chapter of the bride’s life with her spouse) something borrowed (the sense of happiness borrowed from a married friend is transferred to the couple) something blue (the color of love purity, faithfulness and modesty) and a six pence in her shoe (which brings wealth to the couple), which all bring good luck to the bride. Still, any day you pick is special because it’s yours.

~ Annette K

Juneteenth

By Blog, Events, News, Newsletter, Resources, Video

Juneteenth

By: Della & Morgan

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth, the holiday, commemorates June 19, 1865. This day is important to African Americans because it was the day that the last group of slaves in the United States gained freedom. The last group of slaves received the news in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This document declared that all slaves shall be free. This was ignored by many slave owners. On January 31, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery once and for all with the 13th Amendment. The news did not travel fast because it was released during the Civil War. The news finally reached everyone after the Civil War ended in 1865. Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, or Liberation Day. This holiday started in Texas, as former slaves moved to the North, the holiday became national.

Juneteenth Today

African Americans celebrate Juneteenth as their own Independence Day. In this celebration, individuals come together to remember the past and celebrate the future. Some of the common activities that take place during this celebration are cookouts, parties, and even parades.

https://youtu.be/MR3WqYI6wco

D Day

By Blog, Events, News, Newsletter, Resources

By Jenny T

British statesman Winston Churchill once wrote, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  In my family we take this as a challenge. Both my grandfather and my father-in-law served in WWII, so patriotism is very important to us. 

It is now that time of year that we as Americans should turn our collective attention to the Epic 1944 Invasion That Changed the Course of WWII. The Allied invasion of Normandy was among the largest military operations ever taged.Without the brilliant planning and heroic sacrifices of the D-Day invasion, the Allies may have never defeated the Nazi forces in Europe.

The D-Day invasion is significant in history for the role it played in WWII. It marked the turn of the tide for the control maintained by Nazi Germany; less than a year after the invasion, the Allies formally accepted Nazi Germany’s surrender. 

Though the ‘D’ in D-Day doesn’t actually stand for anything. The military used the term D-Day to designate the launch date of a mission.he term has become synonymous with the remembrance of June 6, 1944, when more than 156,000 American, British and Canadian troops stormed 50 miles of Normandy’s fiercely defended beaches in northern France. 

Not only was D-Day the largest amphibious invasion in military history.

It is also interesting to note that Allied forces carried out a massive deception campaign in advance of D-Day. In addition bad  weather delayed the invasion.

Allied losses on D-Day are estimated to be around 4,413 dead. German numbers are not well recorded, but it is estimated that between 4,000 and 9,000 were killed. The Battle of Normandy was fierce and bloody and would last until late August when the Allies crossed the Seine River towards Paris. Casualty rates were slightly higher than they were during a typical day during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Over 425,000 Allied and German troops were wounded, killed or listed as missing during the Battle of Normandy. Of these, around 200,000 were Allied casualties of which almost 53,714 were killed. No reliable figures exist for the German losses, but it is estimated that around 200,000 were killed or wounded with approximately 200,000 more taken prisoner. French civilian casualties during the Battle of Normandy stand at around 19,890 – not including the estimated 15,000 that had been killed during bombardments prior to D-Day. The Battle left 120,000 Normandy buildings destroyed and a further 270,000 damaged.

It was a day that cost many lives on all sides of the conflict, changing not only the future of countries, but of families as well. Because of that, there is much to be learned from those who experienced its victories and its horrors first hand.

Aphasia Awareness

By Blog, Events, News, Newsletter, Resources

By Karl K

A recent study by the National Aphasia Association revealed that a whopping 84.5% of people have never heard the term “Aphasia.”  Aphasia affects about two million Americans and is more common than Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy, or muscular dystrophy. Nearly 180,000 Americans acquire the disorder each year. So, given these numbers, it is surprising how few people know anything about it.  I can tell you honestly that I knew what it was, but that is where my knowledge ended.

Aphasia is an “acquired communication disorder that impairs a person’s ability to process language but does not affect intelligence.” 1  People who have Aphasia typically have trouble talking to and understanding others.  Many of them are very slow in reading and writing.

This month we celebrate the many gains in treating Aphasia that allow someone to lead a normal life.  We celebrate the many hours put in by therapists, caseworkers, staff members, and caregivers that have made this possible.  We also celebrate amazing personal desires to go forward in life.  At the same time, we note that there is much more to do.

My recent experiences of leading the Aphasia Group at BIND (Brain Injury Network of Dallas) for many weeks have been very rewarding.  I find it remarkable to see the interest among our members who do not even have aphasia to learn and help others.

I feel that “victims” is an improper term to use.  It is not a disease.  It is a disorder.  Although it takes time to improve, the results are not always permanent. With work and perseverance, there is the potential to make positive gains in development. The research clearly shows that Aphasia is not correlated with lack of intelligence or mental illness.

 About 750,000 strokes occur each year in America.3  About a third of all strokes result in Aphasia. Between 25-40% of stroke survivors report that they acquired Aphasia at one point in their recovery.4  It can also result from a head injury, brain tumor, or other neurological causes.

People with Aphasia ask these questions, which are usually difficult for them to process.  One is about language retrieval and recognition:  (1)  Can a person say the words they want? (2) Can a person understand what others say? (3) Can a person listen and read without difficulty?  Another set of related questions is about how they speak:  (1) They have trouble saying the words they want to say.  (2) They switch sounds frequently.  (3) They use made-up words to compensate instead of staying silent.5

There are two categories of Aphasia problems that you see. Look at these two samples.  One is phonemic:  “Apple vs. Papple” or “Barber vs. Marmer.”  The other is semantic:  “Car vs. Van” or “Tiger vs. Lion” or “Foot vs. Shoe” or “Pear vs. Fruit;”

You can help others who suffer from Aphasia.  Here are five steps to follow:  (1) Be patient and do not rush the process.  (2) Use plenty of time to help the person improve.  (3) Establish a topic so that the person has a preview of what should follow.  (4) Use “yes” and “no” questions, instead of open-ended types.  (5) Repeat what they say and ask for understanding.6

I am sad that so many people who need help cannot get it.  I feel that way in many areas, not only about Aphasia.  Recently, I found numbers that show the current job market is strong for graduates in communication disorders. At the same time, I become angry when the help is wasted.

For several years, I have asked graduate students who are close to finishing their degrees what they would do about this.  I know when they get their job, and start working with clients, it is hard and tiring to think about doing work pro-bono.  However, it is the best thing and rewarding thing they can do.  I encourage them to do that.

You do not need to be a licensed therapist to help someone with Aphasia. All you must do is talk with someone. Listen.  Let them try words and phrases.  Celebrate their progress.  Help them feel good about themselves.   That does not cost any money, but the help is priceless.

NOTES:

1            https://edse6001learningdisabilities.weebly.com/

2            https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-resilient-brain

3            https://www.webmd.com/stroke/news

4            https://www.aphasia.org/aphasia-faqs/

5            https://www.wikihow.com/Communicate-with-Aphasia-Patients

6             https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000024.htm

Awareness

By Blog, News, Newsletter, Resources

Among the BIND membership, 52% are survivors of a stroke, while 10.5% are on the other side of a brain tumor diagnosis. We have 3 overcomers who fit into both categories, a statistical anomaly that can only be explained by the miracles that happen within this small community, one of which happens to be me. We, unfortunately, are counted within the 1-5% of people who experience a stroke after brain surgery to remove a tumor.

795,000 Americans endure strokes each year, with more than 140,000 people dying. Stroke is also a leading cause of serious, long-term disability.

The effects of a stroke vary from person-to-person based on the type, severity, location, and number of strokes. The brain is complex.  Each area of the brain is responsible for a specific function or ability. When an area of the brain is damaged from a stroke, the loss of normal function of a part of the body may occur.  This may result in a disability.

The twelve most common effects of a stroke are:

  1. Paralysis on one side of the body (Hemiplegia)
  2. Weak Motor Control (Hemiparesis)
  3. Tight, stiff muscles (Spasticity)
  4. Extremely stiff, painful muscles (Contractures)
  5. Shoulder complications
  6. Foot drop
  7. Curled toes
  8. Balance issues
  9. Learned nonuse
  10. Visual problems
  11. Difficulty swallowing (Dysphagia)
  12. Impaired vision or spatial attention

Furthermore, at least 86,000 new brain tumors are identified in the U.S. annually. There are more than 120 different types, and they are the leading cause of cancer deaths in children and young adults.

In my obviously biased opinion, research into this disease and possible cures is grossly underfunded and ineffective. Data collected by Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS) in “CBTRUS Statistical Facts Report of Primary Brain and Other Central Nervous System Tumors Diagnosed in the United States in 2010 – 2014” suggest:

  • Despite the amount of brain tumors, and their devastating prognosis, there have only been four (4) FDA approved drugs – and one device – to treat brain tumors in the past 30 years.
  • For many tumor types, surgery and radiation remain the standard of care.
  • There has never been a drug developed and approved specifically for malignant pediatric brain tumors.
  • The four approved drugs for brain tumors have provided only incremental improvements to patient survival, and mortality rates have not changed over the past 30 years.
  • Between 1998 and 2014, there were 78 investigational brain tumor drugs that entered the clinical trial evaluation process. 75 failed.  That is a 25:1 failure ratio in developing new brain tumor treatments over the past two decades.

It is often difficult to talk about such a hard topic, but always remember statistics don’t paint the whole picture. Brain tumor warriors are usually the bravest, toughest fighters you will ever meet. NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE!

More than any other cancer, brain tumors can have lasting and life-altering physical, cognitive, and psychological impacts on a patient’s life. This means malignant brain tumors can often be described as equal parts neurological disease and deadly cancer.

It has been my experience that saying your tumor is benign gives people the impression that it is curable, and isn’t a very serious situation, however, this is not the case. Even benign brain tumors can be deadly if they interfere with portions of the brain responsible for vital bodily functions. It is also pretty safe to say that brain surgery is seldom benign.

We at BIND are passionate about spreading awareness of both these maladies. That is why we choose to draw attention to both the American Stroke Association (https://www.strokeassociation.org/) and the American Brain Tumor Association (https://www.abta.org/). We should all spread the word and get a spotlight aimed at these causes, so that we can give hope to and encourage those living with or affected by strokes or brain tumors.

~Jenny

Plano Public Library Wins Award!

By Blog, News, PR, Resources

At BIND, we are proud to partner with the Plano Public Library! Prior to the pandemic, and throughout our year of working virtually with our program members, the library has hosted the Unmasking Brain Injury display AND provided valuable learning opportunities for our program members.

Development Coordinator Kristin Linscott and the Plano Public Library Staff recently shared this message with us:

“Thank you for partnering with Plano Public Library and allowing our staff to assist your members with technology training. Your organization is a valued partner and we hope our work together inspires many other libraries to collaborate with nonprofits to enhance digital literacy for all, and especially for overlooked groups.”

Click Here to Read More About the ALA Announcement. 

Who Is Most Valuable To You?

By Blog, Resources

Right before Christmas, I was in two meetings where we needed to be candid with each other.  As the conversations continued, the tone and language began to change and I felt that others were not being truthful with me.  I thought they were just telling me what I wanted to hear so they could get out of the meetings quickly.  This was an example of people who are afraid to say what they really think.  Why did they simply want to tell me what I wanted to hear?

Does that happen to you frequently?  Do you have a person in your life who will tell you the way it is from their perspective, instead of what you want to hear?

Some examples happen all the time. You are dressed to go out and your family says, ”you look great tonight!”  Or, you are with friends and they say that this is a great car to buy!  What about a student who writes a paper and asks you “what do you think?”

Who is the person who will not tell you just what you want to hear, but instead will tell you exactly what they think?  In the first example, who will say “that color does not look good on you,” or “I have read a lot of complaints about this vehicle”?  In the last one, what if you said, “it looks like an A to me,” when in reality you should have said, “these two sections are not organized very well. You need to start over.”

In my view, those people could be one of the most valued persons in your life.  They will shoot straight with you. They tell you what they really see and feel.  Now, I do not know if you need too many of them because that could get you down quickly.  Maybe only one is all you need.

But, it is true that we think it is better to hear something that we approve of, even if it is not the truth.

Just because someone sees things differently than you do does not mean they are right.  Remember that their opinion may be as good as anyone else’s, including your own.  When people give you honest feedback, you do not have to do anything you do not want.  But, what you can do is weigh options, and at least considerdifferent viewpoints.  Doing that will slow down the decision-making to stop you being so impulsive.

Think about people who you are with on a regular basis.  Notice that you enjoy their company and they are easy to talk with.  But, how difficult is it to talk about what they really think?

You may not like this question.  The real issue is, are you around people who are just “butt-kissers”?  That may be the best thing you could do for yourself, especially around people who are superior in rank or status to you.  For example, are you really going to tell a vice-president of a company that “I think this sales campaign will not work?”  Most people just say this is a great idea just to save face.  When in reality, that is not what they think at all.

Obviously, if the person has status and power over you, it takes courage to say what you really believe. You could get fired, or lose your position.

My first job was in sales in a department store. I kept the tables and racks clean and attractive.  That is what I thought was good to do.  If my store manager said, “this doesn’t look very good,” should I have said, “you’re right, I will fix it.”  Or, should I have argued that “I think it will boost sales the way it is now.”  Since I was only 18, I did not say anything except what he wanted me to do.

When people are afraid to say what they think, their feelings do not go away.  When do you hear them?  Not in a meeting where they belong – you hear them in the restroom, at lunch, or on the phone after work.  Notice that is too late.  The damage is done.  They are left with unfilled input because they could not be genuine about what they really wanted to say.

Think about this one.  On your way to visit an elderly friend in a hospital, you run into a doctor in the hallway, and you ask about how much time does she have.  The doctor tells you that she has probably a week to live.  So, what would you do?  Suppose that you are a person who is uncomfortable lying.  Would you just say, “I do not know. I am not a doctor,” even though you heard what the doctor said.   Do you really want to say to your friend, “I just saw the doctor in the hall today, and he says that you have only a couple of days left to live.”  You may – but many others would not. .

Realize there is a consequence to telling people exactly what you feel.  If the person is not open-minded about looking for options or counter-views, the relationship may be scarred forever.  If someone does not want to hear what you really think, you must consider the damage that may occur.  Maybe you know people who have their minds made up easily and quickly, and who are not open to new ideas.  Unfortunately, the world does not spin the way that you want it to.

If you asked one person “what do you really think,” and she does not want to hear it, at least you know that you are not going to repeat that again.  If she cannot handle it the first time, why would she handle it any better the next time?  You may have your feelings hurt, when just you only tried to help her.

Consider the context.  I try to make requests like this in private, They probably will take what they ask you better. This works especially well when you preface the request with the importance or urgency of what you are talking about.  Consider how you might feel when a person has had a dilemma or is making tough choices.

I am part of a group that is called BIND (Brain Injury Network of Dallas).  One of our activities is called “ThinkTank,” where we suggest solutions for members who have problems that they want to solve. The key is to ask people to not fight the person who is giving a suggestion.  It does not do much good when someone is only content with what they already know, and they are not open-minded about other options.  In our group, we ask everyone to listen to suggestions, and not reply with responses like “I tried that before, and I did not work for me” or “That is too much trouble,” or “I cannot afford that.” This will kill the enthusiasm in the group quickly.

This is a complex issue.  How do you work with someone who thinks differently about talking with others in a candid way?  How do you cope with the possible conflicts that these situations pose?  In many ways, the real questions are answered not by how we feel, but how we act.  That is always the challenging problem we need to solve.

~ By Karl K

Why We Have A Holiday on January 18

By Uncategorized
On April 4, 1968, I was in a barbershop late in the day. My father took me for a haircut and while I was waiting, a bulletin came in on the news to explain that Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. had been killed. I was only 14 years old. What I remember the most was that my dad said “why can’t people just vote against someone? Why do they have to kill anyone?” That is a good question even today.

When I later visited the tombstone of Dr. King it was a very solemn
experience for me. To think for a minute about the causes that he stood for, and how much courage he had, especially to stand up for people who could not defend themselves, is amazing.

Not everyone was so excited. I taught Management at the University
of Dallas for 19 years before my stroke hit me. It was only two years ago
that the school decided to observe the holiday. It is also true that President Ronald Reagan was opposed to the holiday, claiming that if we have any more, why do people need to go to work? On the floor of the U.S. Senate, without evidence, Jesse Helms claimed that King was a communist supporter. When asked, Reagan said “we will know in about 35 years won’t we,” talking about when the ceremonial capsule would be unsealed. However, under pressure, Reagan capitulated in the final months of 1983. He sat on the White House lawn and signed a bill establishing a federal holiday for a man he had spent the previous two decades opposing. What did they do? They sang “We Shall Overcome,” which was very appropriate for the occasion.

It is impossible to cover everything he did, and what he was, in this
space. Dr. King was known as an activist and minister who promoted and
organized nonviolent protests. He played a pivotal role in advancing civil
rights in America. Dr. King won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to fight
racial inequality in a non-violent matter.

While he is most famous for his “I Have a Dream” speech, it was the
letter from the Birmingham Jail that is more memorable. If you have never read it, you can find it in many different sources. The letter demonstrates his command of figurative language. He used a strong call to action tone both in writing and speaking. You cannot ignore how he turned the non-violent protests around in America and showed people how to lead in a different, but stronger way. Unfortunately, some supporters did exactly what King did not want to do, by resorting to violence in streets.

In “The March on Washington” in 1963, Dr. King helped lead over
200,000 people to the Lincoln Memorial overlooking the Washington
Monument. The King march was organized by him and groups of civil rights, labor, and religious organizations. The purpose was to gain civil and economic equality for African-Americans (then, called Negros). It was the strongest call ever to put an end to racism. His march was crucial in helping to pass the Civil Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Dr. King also was famous for the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Birmingham Campaign. As a leader of the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference, he brought many new ideas for which had never been publicly expressed. He was also the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

History tells us that the assassin of Dr. King in Memphis was James
Earl Ray. You can see the photos taken on the balcony when King was shot. Among them is the Reverend Jesse Jackson and others who pointed up to that floor of the motel. Yet before his death, the family claimed otherwise. They said that James Earl Ray did not kill Martin Luther King. “It pains my heart,” said Bernice King, “that James Earl Ray had to spend his life in prison paying for things he didn’t do.” 

Until her own death in 2006, Coretta Scott King, was very clear that she believed that a conspiracy led to the assassination. Her family filed a civil suit in 1999 to turn more information publicly, and a jury ruled that the local, state, and federal governments were liable for King’s death.

The low point in his career was plagiarism. While working on his
dissertation for his doctorate at Boston University, he heavily relied on
another author who had done research on the topic. An academic
committee later found that over half of King’s work was plagiarized yet
would not revoke his doctorate. Since he was dead by that time, a review
panel said the action would serve no purpose. The committee found that the dissertation still “makes an intelligent contribution to scholarship.”

In the week when I wrote this blog, a group of men at BIND (Brain
Injury Network of Dallas) discussed the topic about “how the world would be different if they were never born.” The idea came from the story about George Bailey in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” We can see that there is no question about how the world would be different without Dr. King. 

My view is that the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act would have been
extremely slow. The leadership of the non-violent movement would have
been in shambles. We would not have experienced his oratory, which was best anyone would have wanted. His murder was senseless. But, like
martyrs before and after him, the contributions are timeless.

That is why we honor him today with this holiday.

~Karl K
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