Cognitive Strategies after Concussion or Mild TBI:

By: Tracy Witty

Some people who have sustained a concussion may experience a change in their thinking (cognitive skills) and may have trouble with:

  • Making Decisions
  • Concentrating
  • Remembering and Learning
  • Multitasking
  • Language and Learning
  • Understanding
  • Planning and Organizing
  • Irritability

Sometimes these changes can make everyday tasks more difficult. So, what can you do?

Keep organized 

• Use a daytime calendar, or phone to help you remember appointments and things you need to do.
• Keep important things (like keys, phones, medications) in the same place so you don’t forget where you put them.

Use strategies to help you focus and remember

• Set alarms to help you remember to do things at a certain time.
• Write notes to yourself and place them in areas where they remind you to do important tasks.
• Avoid noisy and distracting environments that make it hard to concentrate instead.
• Try to work in a quiet area when you need to work, read, or study.

Try to reduce stress 

• Take a rest break before you feel tired or overloaded.
• Break up large or complicated activities into smaller more manageable tasks.
• Pace yourself and don’t try to do everything at once.
• Practice deep breathing and relaxation strategies. (See our resource page on diaphragmatic breathing).

If you feel that your thinking doesn’t go back to normal after a few weeks see your doctor or health care provider and discuss the possibility of getting support during your recovery. Our occupational therapists at Turning Point are trained in cognitive rehabilitation and can assist you learn additional strategies to manage your thinking difficulties. Talk to your OT and they can work with you to make a personalized plan.

More information about concussions and mTBI can be found at: