Virtual Assembly 2020 Presenter Denslow Brown



 Denslow Brown, MCC, CPO-CD®, ICD Master Trainer

Brain Injury! Impacts, Recovery Patterns & Strategies

Capturing lessons from the unique journeys of three clients, this session will explore brain injury causes, impacts, recovery patterns and support strategies using case studies. 

Before their lives were turned upside down by a brain injury, these three individuals had remarkable strengths and life accomplishments – as well as existing health challenges.  Their brain injuries were caused by illness (encephalitis), PTSD, medication error (serotonin toxicity) and a car accident.  The impacts of brain injury can be varied and vast.  Each of our case studies illustrates specific cognitive, emotional and mobility challenges. 

People in recovery from brain injury move through fluid, progressive stages.  Although each recovery stage calls for particular strategies, all stages require patience, compassion, education and the identification of what support is needed at that time. There are on-going and changing needs for information tracking, time and task management, communication and adapted space use. 

The early stage of recovery often includes time at a hospital or rehab facility – and moving home. There’s a focus on setting up an environment that works -- and finding the needed caretaking and specialized support.  People with a new brain injury struggle to cope and comprehend many things: the instigating cause, the scope of the injury, a lack of independence, a new identity, and the many implications.  Caretakers, rather than the person with a TBI, may be in charge.

Settling into the spacious middle stage of recovery and healing, the individual must navigate through shifting sands. There may be limits on how much of one’s own recovery an individual is able to direct.  They grapple with current capacities; accept and negotiate assistance; develop a new sense of self; and manage relationships, expectations and needs. It’s important to track and implement professional instructions (proscribed therapies, medications, limitations) and establish recovery routines.  Environmental solutions need to evolve and keep pace with the client’s increasing capacity.  In this phase an individual’s strengths and experience start to re-emerge.  They need to be respected and integrated into the strategies and systems for recordkeeping, implementation and communication.

In the third broad stage, there’s a sense of living in the ‘new normal.’  The client’s world becomes bigger than their recovery as life introduces new opportunities and challenges (elections and local/world events; friends and family births, deaths, marriages, holidays).  Recovery is still a moving target.  There may be set-backs, ‘healing plateaus, stubborn limitations or surpassed expectations – but there’s also competence in adapting to developments and change. Self-care may feel like a full-time occupation, but leisure and regeneration activities are explored within new limitations – and embraced. The safety cocoon is relaxed; more independence is gained. The individual begins to take on responsibilities beyond their healing -- even returning to work.  On-going support to maintain and/or reclaim stabilized systems and strategies is essential.

The session will include PowerPoint slides, set-ups for participation, pauses for questions and comments. The session will close by reflecting as a group on the lessons and strategies to keep in mind when working with individuals who must rise to the challenges of a brain injury


Denslow Brown, MCC is an ICD Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization® and Master Trainer

She opened her organizing business in 1974. Active in both NAPO and ICD (NSGCD) since their inceptions, volunteering ins many leadership and training capacities. 

In the early 1990s, at a meeting of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization, she volunteered to research adult ADD –because her nieces and sister had just been diagnosed.  She became NSGCD/ICD’s original ADD teleclass trainer, creating the original Basic ADD and Normalizing ADD teleclasses.

Desperate to find a way to support lasting change for her clients, Denslow completed ADD coach training through the Optimal Functioning Institute in the mid-90’s.  Thrilled with coaching’s effectiveness, she began teaching coaching philosophy and skills in teleclasses and conference presentations.

Denslow was credentialed as a Master Certified Coach by International Coaching Federation in 2008.  She founded Coach Approach for Organizers to bring coaching skills into the organizing/productivity field. Her coach training program became accredited by the ICF in 2014.  Coach Approach Training supports seven coaching credentials, representing organizing, ADHD, productivity and leadership coaching.  Her program has developed 20+ courses, but she is most proud of Coaching Essentials, an 8-week, stand-alone, introductory telecourse on basic coaching competence.

Denslow is the trainer for the Level IV Communication Mentor candidates, which includes coach training.  She’s also a mentor coach to the Level V Program Mentors.  She has presented sessions related to organizing, ADD and coaching for over 20 years at ICD, NAPO, JALO and CHADD conferences.

She is the author of The Processing Modality Guide for Organizers & Coaches and Recognizing as well as Respecting the Lines between Coaching, Organizing and Therapy.  

Denslow is the honored recipient of ICD's Judith Kolberg Award – and NAPO's President's and Founders’ Awards.