Tyler began working in the disabilities sector while playing junior hockey in Manitoba. He worked as a support staff member while working at a home, and learned extensively about the needs of those living with developmental disabilities. As an occupational therapist, Tyler works with Canadians living with developmental disabilities that come to Chrysalis for cognitive and behavioral services. At Chrysalis, Tyler and the staff take a person-centered approach, ensuring that they focus on the individual needs of each client that comes in.
Disability is a challenging sector for many therapists to work in. People living with developmental disabilities have highly specialized behavioral and cognitive support needs. Sometimes, there may even be physical barriers that therapists need to be aware of when working with these individuals. Despite the many challenges people with disabilities face, people with disabilities can teach people of all backgrounds a lot about life.
“Their approach to life is very inspiring. They never let one day control the rest of their life. It’s really important to work with these people and remember that there is a lot to life and there really are no bad days in life. We have to continue to work and remember that there is always some support to help us get there.” – Tyler Anton.
To address the cognitive and functional needs of people living with disabilities in Edmonton, Tyler wanted to create a Thinking Gym. Tyler got in contact with Anne Miles of WISE Employment in Melbourne, Australia to learn how she structures her thinking gym for her clients battling mental illness. These kinds of programs may help people with cognitive and behavioral challenges build the skills that they need to be able to live more independently or enter the workforce in a capacity that they are able to. Collaborating with other therapists and sharing strategies with one another can make any therapist’s practice more effective as there are always new approaches to therapy being tested in the clinic that incorporate a therapist’s treatment philosophy and perspective on therapeutic intervention.
“I’m really big on environmental enrichment and making [the computer lab] feel like it is a gym almost. I really like the frame of mind that Anne used with the thinking gym because it really is a workout for the mind. When I’m working with individuals and doing this cognitive remediation program with them through HappyNeuron Pro they’re telling me “my brain kinda hurts a little bit from thinking”, and it’s the same thing as when we are working out. We are putting our brain through a workout.” – Tyler Anton.
HappyNeuron Pro provides cognitive exercises that therapists can use to create customized exercise plans that address the areas of cognition that their client is struggling with. These exercises can be done in a space like a thinking gym, where a therapist works with a group of clients in a computer lab and provides them with a structured cognitive exercise program in addition to bridging activities that connect the online cognitive practice to real-world situations that the client is likely to encounter.
During therapy, it is important to help the client understand the purpose of why they are performing cognitive exercises. This contextualization will help the client understand the importance of the cognitive work that they are doing in addition to helping them connect the dots as to how their cognitive practice can create change in their everyday lives.
“I think that’s what’s really cool and resonates with [people that I work with]. They think: “hey, I have to do these workouts [to reach these cognitive goals]” – Tyler Anton.
For many therapists, it is important to get immediate feedback on how a client is doing. Feedback on performance of cognitive exercises allows a therapist to see where their client is struggling and where their client is strong. Using this information, a therapist can tailor a client’s therapy plan to address a client’s weaknesses while maintaining their strengths. HappyNeuron Pro provides immediate feedback after a client completes an exercise. This feedback is readily available in a client’s profile in the results tab.
“It’s nice that HappyNeuron Pro has the ability for me to see if people are stuck at a certain level or if a certain area is giving them more difficulty. It is good information to have and informs my approach to working with [my clients]. And that is what has been really awesome about using HappyNeuron Pro, and we haven’t even used it in a group setting yet so I am very excited about doing that”. – Tyler Anton.
HappyNeuron Pro is adaptable for individual and group settings. Either in-person or remotely, therapists can connect with their clients and have them practice important cognitive skills needed for effective behavior in functional activities. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught many therapists the importance of having resources available that allow them to continue therapy with their clients wherever they are.
“With COVID-19, it has been awesome to have HappyNeuron Pro because clients do not need to come to service to access it and they can access it from home as well. I can use HappyNeuron Pro virtually with my clients. Clients can feel the benefits” – Tyler Anton.
Especially working with clients that have disabilities, it is important to maintain a schedule and continue therapeutic intervention. HappyNeuron Pro has been used by many therapists to address this need, as the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted people’s ways of accessing therapeutic services. By using digital cognitive therapy tools, clients can continue to practice cognitive skills that will help them reach their therapeutic goals.
Page last updated on Sep 14,2021