Communication and The Ripple Effect of Brain Injury in Families
1) If the person with a brain injury asks the speaker to repeat what was said, they might hear the information incorrectly a second time. However, if the person with a brain injury repeats the information back to the speaker; the speaker has an opportunity to correct the error if there is one. If the brain injury survivor writes a message down, it is important to read back what was written to confirm that it was noted correctly.
2) Persons with a brain injury often repeat themselves when speaking. This might happen if the listener doesn’t respond with the response that is being anticipated by the brain injury survivor, or if there is no response. Repetition is the brain injury survivor’s means to make sure that they said it correctly. This can irritate the listener, if they interpret the repetition to be for their benefit. (Comments that indicate this are: “I heard you the first time,” or “You already said that.”) Responses to indicate that they understood what was said help eliminate repetition from the survivor.
3) If persons with a brain injury closely watch the expressions of those whom they are speaking with, they will be able to identify if they are communicating clearly. If a listener looks puzzled, it is a sign of a miscommunication.
4) Persons with a brain injury impulsively blurt out thoughts or interrupt others because they are afraid the thought will leave them if they don’t express it immediately, or because they have trouble containing their excitement. A pocket notebook can give them a place to write thoughts down until it is their turn to talk.
5) Over-stimulation leads to agitation leads to rage. High levels of movement or noise can trigger anger. When the person with a brain injury feels an internal agitation, if they will remove themselves from the stimulus to a quiet spot, they will be able to control outbursts. Television and computers are very stimulating.
6) Intense concentration can drain the brain battery. Rotating between activities which require thinking and activities that are routine prevent rapid wear-down.
7) Over-stimulation or deep concentration without pacing put the brain injury survivor at risk for inappropriate social behaviors. Persons with brain injuries say the random thoughts that most people think but don’t say out-loud. (conversation balloons) Many times, they are equally shocked and disappointed by what fell out of their mouth. (Also referred to as “thinking with your mouth open”)
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© 2007 Lois McElravy, Lessons from Lois Speaker and freelance writer, Lois provides life-changing insights and strategies gained from her personal experiences of adjusting to a sudden life change and adapting to the challenges of living with a brain injury. Her message provides family members, care-givers and professionals with a deeper understanding of brain injury. Lois inspires and motivates survivors to accept their new reality, redefine their life purpose, and feel happy. You can learn more about Lois and read her personal story at www.lessonsfromlois.com. Phone: 406.251.2887 Email: email@example.com
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