Hey guys, it's Adam,
and a lot of people ask me how to respectfully interact
with individuals and combat veterans
who have sustained a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury,
especially with communication and speaking
Do you reach out and shake their hand
if they're, let's say, for example, in a wheelchair
and visibly not capable of reaching back out?
Is it disrespectful to jump in and finish a sentence
when they're speaking or trying to form a word--
to do what you may think is helping them out?
I just wanted to put some information out there about that.
From my experience
dealing with some of the more severely-disabled veterans,
it is actually disrespectful to try and jump in
and finish a word.
A lot of times people with severe traumatic brain injury
may still be coherent in the conversation
and want to participate,
and when they start to--
I should say--struggle and begin speaking,
it is really disrespectful to reach out
after 5 seconds, 7 seconds,
and interrupt them and try to say,
"Hey, do you mean this? Is this what you're trying to say?"
"Is that what--?"
The answer is they're really working to try and form those words,
and so it's respectful to just be patient.
Let them take the time to share the information.
A lot of times they'll have a caregiver with them
who has gotten in a battle rhythm or sync with them,
and they know, they're going to know what they're trying to say,
and they're going to be able to help.
So if you're not their caregiver,
it is somewhat disrespectful to
jump over them or put words in their mouth for them.
That's really the battle rhythm
between the caregiver and the veteran.
Another aspect is shaking hands.
By all means reach out, and there's other things
that you can do.
If you believe that the individual is going to be capable to shake your hand,
reach out, offer your hand.
If they're able to reach their hand up,
grab their hand lightly and shake it.
Let them know that you care.
Try and minimize any disruption to the normal conversation
and the colleagues.
Don't avoid eye contact with people.
Don't look away from people just because they might be in a wheelchair
or may be in a hospital bed.
Engage them and let them participate
in the conversation to the degree that they feel comfortable with.
So I hope that helps, and let us know
if you have any questions. Thanks.
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Should you jump in and finish a sentence for someone with TBI who is having trouble speaking or trying to form a word? Should you drop eye contact if the person is struggling? Adam talks about how to respectfully interact with someone with a TBI.