Aquired Brain Injury

Aquired Brain Injury

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) refers to a type of injury to the brain that results in deterioration of cognitive, physical, emotional or independent functioning that happens after birth.

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) can occur as the result of trauma to the brain from motor vehicle accidents, falls and assaults, or from non-traumatic (internal) causes such as stroke, tumours, aneurysms, infection, poisoning and other situations when the brain does not get enough blood or oxygen.

People who have an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) may be affected in a variety of ways, including:

  • Cognitive
  • Sensory
  • Physical
  • Behavioural or personality changes

Individual responses vary greatly, only specific skills or abilities will be affected and other intellectual abilities remain intact.

Implications

  • People who have had a brain injury may display demanding, intolerant or aggressive behaviour.
  • The person may rush into things without clearly thinking about the consequences.
  • Sometimes they may have difficulty paying attention or concentrating.
  • For some individuals an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) can reduce their social skills and affect the person’s ability to function affectively in a social setting.
  • Individuals may also experience difficulty motivating oneself or initiating activities.
  • Some individuals may also experience physical disabilities, which often include reduced muscle control and fatigue.

 Communication

  • When communicating with a person with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) it is important to acknowledge that each person is an individual and should be approached as such.
  • Meet in a setting that is comfortable and does not cause anxiety or distraction.
  • Always remember to keep your voice tone low and unhurried.
  • Give the person an opportunity to talk. Make time for them.
  • Speak clearly.
  • Use shorter, clear direct sentences to be more easily understood.
  • Explain acronyms or do not use them at all.
  • Speak literally and try not to use metaphors.
  • Provide regular breaks if required to reduce the effects of fatigue.
  • Patience is required if the person has memory problems and needs information repeated in a conversation. Even simple things like names may need to be repeated in one conversation.
  • Physically demonstrate concepts rather than simply explaining. That is, show the person how to do it rather than just telling them.
  • Ask questions to ensure the person understands the information being discussed.
  • Always provide opportunities for questions and provide further information.

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