Talking to others about acquired brain injury
This section offers some ideas for parents on talking with friends, family or neighbours about acquired brain injury.Acquired brain injury isn’t very well understood by many people.1, 2 Some parents say they hadn’t heard of it themselves before their child had an acquired brain injury.3 Much of the time, it can be up to parents to pass on the knowledge they’ve picked up along the way to others. This can be tough for some, who may get tired of repeating things. One of the difficulties with acquired brain injury is how friends and neighbours might misunderstand the condition.4, 5 Difficulties with attention or fatigue, for example, might be unfairly seen as naughtiness or laziness.6, 7
- If our on-line resource has been useful to you, then perhaps you could pass on the website address to friends or relatives. You could always print off relevant pages to hand over, such as our introduction to acquired brain injury.
Defining acquired brain injuryLet's go back to our original definition of acquired brain injury. “You might hear it shortened to ‘ABI’. The ‘acquired’ part means only that the child wasn’t born with their injury – it is something that has happened later.” Other key points to get across are:
- Children and adults are affected differently by acquired brain injury.18
- An injury can interrupt a child’s growing brain when it ‘still has unfinished business’.19, 20 In other words, a child may not go on to pick up some of the skills they otherwise would have.2122 Adults who sustain a brain injury usually have most of the skills they need under their belt.23
- Some children make a full physical recovery, but there may be ‘hidden’ effects of their brain injury.24
- Some of these might take weeks, months and sometimes years to come to the surface.25
- Each child responds differently to their injury.26
- Nobody has all the answers with acquired brain injury.27 It’s not clear at what speed recovery will take place, or if a child will ever be quite as they were.10
It's a very difficult thing to talk about other people to, I think. Every child's injury is completely different, so acquired brain injury isn't as simple as saying 'my child has trouble with X or Y'. You're still trying to work those things out for yourself."A parent
Questions parents may be asked:
Can it be cured?
The brain is the most sophisticated part of our bodies, and so any injury to it is equally complex.28
There is no single ‘cure’ or simple treatment for acquired brain injury, and some children may never be just as they were before their injury.29, 30
Improvements children make are best thought of as part of a long-term process.
But it is a process that can be greatly helped along by different treatments and therapies.