An overview of some of the main difficulties that can affect people after Brain Injury
All Brain Injuries are different and people
may be affected to a varying degree by any
number of these problems depending on
the severity of their injury and the area of the
brain which is affected.
We have grouped the main effects of Brain
Injury into three areas:
Physical – affecting how the body works
Cognitive – affecting how the person thinks,
learns and remembers
Emotional and behavioural – affecting how
the person feels and acts
Excessive tiredness is common to all severities
of Brain Injury, including mild injuries. Tasks
that we take for granted, such as getting dressed
or walking around can require much more
effort after Brain Injury. It is important to allow
for rest periods at regular intervals during the
day, and not to feel that everything has to be
done at once.
Movement can become very slow and balance
can be affected. Indeed, having a Brain Injury
can sometimes feel like ‘living life in the slow
lane’. Some people may need a wheelchair
or other mobility aids, because their poor
balance and co-ordination means they cannot
walk without support. The fact that they use a
wheelchair does not necessarily mean that the
person cannot stand or walk for short distances.
Sensation of touch on the skin may be
reduced, lost or exaggerated. It may also be
difficult for the person to know where their
limbs are positioned without looking at them.
Eyesight may be affected and this may not
be correctable with glasses. Odd postures or
walking patterns may also be explained by
sensory impairments. Taste or sense of smell
may be impaired or lost, either in the short or
Difficulties with speech
Slow, indistinct or rapid speech is common
after a Brain Injury. It may be hard to understand
the person’s speech at first, but the listener may
learn to ‘tune in’. Some people may repeat what
they have said many times over: this is known as
perseveration. Some people may lose the ability
to speak altogether. Remember, their inability
to express themselves does not mean that they
have lost their intelligence.
1/2 This article is reproduced from www.headway.org.uk with
the permission of Headway – the Brain Injury association.
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