Puzzle Club: Brain Injury Survivors Talk Documentary

“The Puzzle Club Documentary delivers a hopeful message for anyone affected by brain injury – Brain injury is not the end of a life, it’s a new beginning.” -Lois McElravy

The Puzzle Club is a weekly support group of “higher level functioning” brain injury survivors. Jillian Campana, a drama professor from the University of Montana, wrote and directed a documentary about the experiences of thirteen brain injury survivors from Missoula, Montana.

Lois McElravy is one of the brain injury survivors featured in this documentary. The sell out play was performed in October of 2003 and was filmed and released in a 1 1/2 hour video in August of 2005. The Making of the Puzzle Club is a 27 minute PBS production, which features excerpts from the play, in addition to interviews with the survivors, actors, and director of the project.

Suggested Break-out session:

1) Show the 27 minute PBS – Making of the Puzzle Club. Lois provides her DVD for the showing. 
2) 15 minute sharing from Lois about how the Puzzle Club Support group operates and her experience with the documentary 
3) 15 minute Q & A Length of presentation: 60-75 minutes
BONUS: Show the 1½ hour documentary as a second break-out session or as an evening entertainment option.

Suitable for mixed audiences – persons who have been affected by brain injury or persons who are interested in learning more about “accepting and living with brain injury.”

Information contained in this session:

1) Demonstrates a wide array of brain injuries
2) Details the various stages someone with a brain injury goes through to let go of their previous life, adapt and accept their new “self”
3) Provides insights for family members, care-givers, professionals, or anyone interested in learning more about brain injury to gain a better understanding of the thoughts and feelings from the perspective of a person living with a brain injury
4) Survivors offer each other personal perspectives and strategies that helped them to accept their circumstances, discover their new identity and build a new life with purpose and meaning
5) Educates the need and benefits of a weekly support group for higher-level functioning survivors

Benefits this session provides:

1) Helps survivors who are “stuck” and angry about how their previous life was shattered, to better understand their own feelings, to let go of their past and get excited about exploring their future
2) Inspires hope to survivors and family members for the possibility of a happy life 
3) Provides “Aha” moments that bridge the gap of misunderstanding between survivors and family members, care-givers, and professionals and provides potential to improve communication, and strengthen relationships with persons who live with brain injury
4) Gives meaning and purpose to professionals for the work they do 
5) Informs how the Puzzle Club Support Groups Operates and how others can start up their own weekly support group for higher level functioning survivors

Special note:
The intention of this presentation is not to sell the Puzzle Club Documentary. Lois does not sell the Puzzle Club Documentary DVD’s, nor does she receive any profit from orders placed. She provides order forms to anyone interested in purchasing the film to order on their own. The purpose of her presentation is to provide information through showing the documentary – that would benefit the participants in a personal or professional capacity and also to provide information about higher level functioning support groups.