Acquired brain injury

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An acquired brain injury (ABI) is an injury to the brain which results in deterioration in any of the following areas of functioning:

  • cognition
  • physical skills
  • communication
  • emotional wellbeing
  • social skills
  • independence.

These impairments may be either temporary or permanent due to cause and severity.

Part of Paul's story

The injury

Paul has a snow skiing accident

Paul's story illustrates one example of services and experiences. Every experience is different.

Paul's complete story

A brain injury can occur as a result of external trauma to the head of sufficient force to impact the brain, identified as traumatic brain injury. Other damage to the brain from stroke, tumour, hypoxia, infection, substance abuse or degenerative neurological diseases, e.g. multiple sclerosis, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease and Alzheimer's disease is identified as ABI.

Brain injury is often referred to as a ‘hidden disability’ because it is not always obvious, especially among people who have mild or moderate physical disability. It can, however, result in significant restrictions on an individual’s ability to participate fully in education, employment and other aspects of life. Relationships with families, friends and carers can also be affected by personality and behavioural changes.

Not all ABIs are appropriate for brain injury specialist rehabilitation.

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