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Why Is It So Hard To Work With Traumatic Brain Injury Victims?

If you are close to a person who has suffered a closed-head or traumatic brain injury (TBI), you probably know that it can often be difficult to communicate with them. They may seem over-emotional or disengaged in conversation, or they may have problems understanding what you are trying to tell them. These changes in behavior can be frustrating for all involved – patient, family, friends, and professionals.

But it isn’t their fault – you are witnessing the effect of damage done to their brains from the injury. TBI often results in cognitive and communication problems that can develop over time. Survivors may have problems expressing themselves, speaking, writing, or understanding words. These thought difficulties can make having conversations difficult because TBI victims may not be able to:

  • Keep from interrupting the conversation,
  • Stay focused on one topic,
  • Use an appropriate tone of voice,
  • Understand sarcasm or humor,
  • Respond to body language,
  • Speak clearly or loudly, or
  • Understand quick-paced conversation.

Even when a TBI victim is able to communicate, he or she may not be able to process what they hear. So when you are speaking with someone who has cognitive difficulties resulting from a brain injury, try to:

  • Limit distractions and outside noise,
  • Speak slower and break messages down into smaller pieces,
  • Repeat important points,
  • Ask the person to repeat what you have told them, and
  • Help the person plan how they will do what you have asked of them.

By changing the way you speak to a person suffering the effects of TBI you can reduce frustration and increase the effectiveness of your conversation. It is important the the professionals in TBI victims lives, like doctors, caregivers, and attorneys, take the time to properly relate to them and make themselves understood. If you need a lawyer who is an expert in relating to and representing brain injury clients, contact Christensen Law for a consultation today.