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Navigating Life After a Spinal Cord Injury: Insights from ASCIP Rehabilitation Conference 

In the world of spinal cord injury rehabilitation, staying informed about the latest research, therapies, and strategies is essential for professionals and individuals living with spinal cord injuries. Attending conferences focused on SCI rehabilitation can be a valuable source of knowledge and inspiration. In this blog post, we’ll delve into key takeaways from a recent rehabilitation conference hosted by the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals (ASCIP) where we’ll explore the importance of adaptive sports, spinal cord injury education, cognitive-supported learning, advocacy, and more. We’ll also provide resources and additional information to help you, or your loved ones navigate life after a spinal cord injury. 


Adaptive Sports and Recreation

Participating in adaptive sports and recreation is not only a means of physical activity but also a way to build confidence and a sense of community. Some of the key takeaways from the conference regarding adaptive sports and recreation include: 

Enhancing Physical Abilities

Adaptive sports, such as wheelchair basketball, rugby, and adaptive skiing, are tailored to accommodate mobility impairments. Engaging in these activities helps develop and maintain physical strength, cardiovascular fitness, and overall health. These sports also offer a fun and competitive outlet for athletes with spinal cord injuries. Check out Move United,  an organization that provides information on various adaptive sports and opportunities for participation. 

Promoting Social Interaction and Community Integration

Beyond the physical benefits, adaptive sports and recreational activities offer a chance for individuals to connect with others who have similar experiences. The conference emphasized that these connections could reduce feelings of isolation and provide a strong support network. Moreover, participating in adaptive sports can lead to greater community integration, as many programs encourage outreach and interaction with able-bodied individuals. 

Providing Motivation and Purpose

Rehabilitation is a long and challenging journey. Adaptive sports and recreation serve as powerful motivators, giving individuals a reason to stay active and focused on their goals. For many, competing in sports or mastering a new recreational activity provides a sense of purpose and accomplishment. 


Spinal Cord Injury Education and Empowerment

Education plays a pivotal role in empowering individuals with spinal cord injuries and their families. Some conference insights regarding education and empowerment include: 

Understanding One’s Body

Education programs about spinal cord injury often begin with understanding the injury itself. Learning about the anatomy and function of the spinal cord, the level of injury, and potential complications empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their care and lifestyle. 

Skill Development

Rehabilitation education encompasses a wide range of skills, from learning how to perform daily activities with adaptive equipment to mastering techniques for managing bowel and bladder functions. These skills contribute to greater independence and quality of life. The United Spinal Association offers advocacy and educational resources aimed at improving the lives of individuals with spinal cord injuries.  

Advocacy for Support

The conference highlighted the importance of educating not only individuals with spinal cord injuries but also payer sources, insurers, and policymakers. Advocacy efforts help secure the necessary support, funding, and services to meet the unique needs after a  spinal cord injury. Check out the United Spinal Association, which offers support and educational materials for those living with spinal cord injuries.   


Cognitive Supported Learning After Spinal Cord Injury 

Cognitive challenges are a significant aspect of life after a spinal cord injury, and cognitive-supported learning strategies can be immensely helpful: 

Visual Aids

Visual aids, such as diagrams, charts, and videos, simplify complex concepts and instructions. These aids enhance comprehension and retention, making it easier for individuals to learn and adapt to new circumstances. 

Hands-On Activities

Engaging in hands-on activities, where possible, facilitates learning. Occupational therapists often employ activities like adapted cooking or home modification projects to help individuals apply what they have learned. Similarly, physical therapists address mobility challenges in the home and community.  

Repetition and Reinforcement

Cognitive-supported learning involves regular repetition and reinforcement of key information and skills. This approach helps solidify knowledge and build confidence in applying new techniques. 

One resource for cognitive-supported learning is the Brain Injury Association of America. While focused on brain injury, this organization provides resources and strategies for cognitive rehabilitation that can be beneficial for spinal cord injury patients.  


Spinal Cord Injury Advocacy

Advocacy is a vital component of improving the lives of individuals with spinal cord injuries: 

Patient Advocacy

Patient advocacy involves individuals and their families actively engaging with healthcare providers, insurers, and policymakers to ensure they receive the appropriate care and support. Patients should be encouraged to assert their rights and needs. 

Educating Payer Sources

Advocates and organizations can play a crucial role in educating insurance companies and government agencies about the unique needs and costs associated with spinal cord injuries. This leads to improved coverage and support. 


Building Resilience After Spinal Cord Injury 

Building resilience is essential for individuals facing the challenges of life after a spinal cord injury: 

Stoicism and Positivity

While stoicism, the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings or complaint, is one way to navigate challenges, positivity and optimism are equally valuable. Maintaining a hopeful outlook can motivate individuals to pursue their goals and adapt to new circumstances. 

Mindfulness and Faith-Based Approaches

Some individuals find strength in mindfulness practices, meditation, or faith-based approaches to cope with the emotional and psychological aspects of spinal cord injuries. These practices can promote emotional healing and mental well-being. Mayo Clinic also offers guidance on developing resilience and coping skills.  


Explore the Benefits of Therapy 

Our guide to online therapy for spinal cord injury patients is just the beginning in terms of the ways Kintinu Telerehab can help you. Our telerehabilitation services can provide valuable support, guidance, and expertise in the comfort of your own home, helping you on your road to recovery and a fulfilling life after a spinal cord injury. Get in touch with us to learn more.