>> Clinicians, consider downloading this infographic to help your clients better understand how neuroplasticity works.
The term “neuroplasticity” (or “brain plasticity”) refers to the ability of our brains to reorganize, both physically and functionally, throughout our lives, due to our environment. One of the biggest shifts in our understanding of brain plasticity is that it is a lifelong phenomenon, and this understanding has had a profound impact on developing therapy for those recovering from brain injury.
Researchers used to think that the brain is plastic only during childhood and once we reach adulthood, no new changes can be made to it. However, we now know that at any age, and with repeated and specialized training/instruction, even an injured brain can change and recover.
Kleim and Jones published a well-known paper in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research that details the 10 principles of experience-dependent neural plasticity with considerations as to how to apply them to survivors of brain injury. Our growing understanding of neuroplasticity raises optimism that this knowledge can be capitalized on to improve rehabilitation and to optimize functional outcomes.
Because the 10 principles of neuroplasticity are incorporated into most brain rehabilitation therapy, clinicians may find that providing clients with this infographic:
Kleim JA, Jones TA, Principles of experience-dependent neural plasticity: implications for rehabilitation after brain damage, Journal Speech Lang Hear Res. 2008 Feb;51(1): S225-39. doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2008/018).