Jessie Riley Creates Kitanie Coloring Books to Stimulate Healing For Brain Injury and Concussion Patients

Jessie Riley, owner of Kitanie Coloring Books, discovered through her own concussion recovery that coloring rebuilds visual spatial and organization skills, which can be disrupted from a concussion. She has published coloring books to bring hope and recovery to brain injury patients.

A brain injury can be temporary or permanent. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 1.7 million people each year in the US incur a traumatic brain injury. Jessie Riley, owner of Kitanie Coloring Books, is one of them and understands firsthand that having a concussion and being diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome are considered “invisible illnesses.” These types of brain injuries are often difficult to rehabilitate because there are no obvious outward signs that anything is wrong with the body, thus making it even harder for specialists to prescribe effective treatments for recovery.

"I experienced my first concussion 15 years ago in a short-track speed-skating crash, and a second one this past summer,” says Riley. ”For the longest time, I had unexplained visual symptoms and dizziness. When my concussion doctor referred me to a behavioral optometrist, I discovered, ironically, that coloring was an essential key to my recovery.”

Behavioral optometrist Dr. Howard Kushner, understands Riley’s common, yet mostly misdiagnosed, symptoms.

"Concussions interfere with the ability to process specific information in a complex array, called figure ground processing," says Kushner. "For example, many patients with concussions cannot walk in a supermarket. They become completely overwhelmed because they cannot make sense of all the visual information. Coloring helps to rehabilitate this skill because it specifically requires the individual to make sense of the complex visual information on the page."

In the weeks following a concussion, doctors teach patients about brain rest. This entails no computer use, social media, video games, text messages, and even reading. In the digital age, brain rest can be difficult for tweens, teens and young adults as they may find it boring in relation to their usual highly stimulating everyday activities. However, one activity this group of adolescents finds entertaining that is not banned, is coloring.

Dr. Robert Nielson, a leading concussion specialist and Riley’s personal doctor in New York, believes coloring can accelerate the healing of brain pathways.

“We’re leaning toward getting concussed patients more involved in active rehabilitation after the initial 5-7 days post injury without causing further energy imbalance in the brain. Since so much of the brain's energy is involved in eye movement and tracking, coloring is an excellent activity in stimulating the healing of brain pathways.”

In the month following Riley’s concussion, her company Kitanie Coloring Books published "One Big Gigantic Herd of Invisible Cosmic Zebras" - a coloring book for tweens, teenagers and young adults who have an invisible illness. In the book, endearing cosmic creatures say comforting and encouraging words like, “Keep your head up. This too shall pass. And if it doesn’t, I’ll still love you.” The coloring book can be found through most online bookstores worldwide and on Doctors who work with concussion patients, and other invisible illnesses, can also customize the coloring book to give to their patients after diagnosis.

"Spending the last couple of months coloring, as part of my 11-week vision therapy homework, has helped me to get my brain, and my life, back," says Riley. "I knew that discovering this would be life-changing for me and now I wish for everyone who has ever had a concussion, or whoever gets a concussion in the future, to know there are solutions to heal their symptoms and there is hope."

Contact Info:
Name: Jessica Paskett
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Organization: Jessie Riley

Release ID: 92026