3.3 Encouraging independence

The importance of encouraging and facilitating a person with a TBI to participate in everyday activities

Why do we encourage independence?

There are many reasons for encouraging independence:

  • Defining ourselves: What we do helps us to identify who we are, our lives are made up of a series of events and experiences which shape our own and others perceptions of us.
  • Sense of Achievement: When we complete a task or activity we gain a sense of achievement ┬áthat helps us feel good about ourselves.
  • Sense of Control: When we complete a task or activity we feel in control of our actions and daily life.
  • Providing Choice: It allows us to choose what we do, when we do it and how we do it.
  • Reducing Dependence: It reduces our reliance on others which makes it easier for carers and families to support us.

Promoting / teaching independence can sometimes be a slow, frustrating and difficult process. Encouraging independence relies on:
Consistency- completing tasks in the same way (i.e. following a checklist)
Timing- completing tasks at appropriate times (i.e. meal preparation at meal times)
Context- completing tasks in the right situation/environment (i.e. shaving in bathroom)
Patience- learning takes time

It can often seem easier to ‘do’ the task for the person as it tends to be quicker, however this only reinforces deficits and encourages dependence.