I recently attended the Wyoming Brain Injury Association’s conference, held in Douglas, and it was amazing. The topic of this year’s conference was “Children & Brain Injury Strategies for All Ages”. One thing I found beneficial is that they did not limit their focus to just those with Brain Injury, they also had motivational sessions that were focused on the individuals providing services for those with Brain Injury.
While at the conference I also met some wonderful people that are doing amazing things. Ellen Baker, secretary for Wyoming’s Brain Injury Association, provided me with a study they just recently completed and published “Study of Undiagnosed Brain Injuries in Wyoming’s Prison Population”. To read the Wyoming in-state prison population study click here.
There were break out session on Teaching Strategies for Kids with Brain Injury presented by Marilyn Lash; Brain Injury 101 for Teachers facilitated by Mike Aurand; as well as Behavioral Interventions by Shawn Powell, PhD; and panel discussions on Services for Birth to 5 Years of Age as well as How to Get the Most Out of an IEP.
Mark Towers presented on “Strategies for Coping With Change”, and “How to Stay Up No Matter What Comes Down” which were well received by those in attendance. He kept the audience involved, using magic, humor, and exercises, truly an inspirational motivating speaker. He talked about coping with stress, self-talk, and the difference between recognition and praise. Sharing that recognition is the specifics or “what I like about you”, where as praise has a tendency to be “good job” without the specifics. He also shared that Elizabeth Kubler-Ross summarized her 40 year study of the cycle of grief and the meaning of life in three questions: 1) Did I give and receive love? 2) Did I become all that I could be? 3) Did I leave the planet a little better than I found it?
In Mr. Towers’ last session, he left us all with one challenge – and that was “The next time two paths show up – take the path of greater resistance” – sharing that in challenging ourselves we will live fuller lives. This hit me rather hard, the more I think on his parting statement, the more I realize just how true it is. It is so easy for us to continue to follow the path of least resistance. Making the decision to choose the less traveled path requires us to confront our own fears and insecurities, and open doors to new potentials that would have been missed.