What Is a TBI and How Does It Affect the Way the Brain Functions?
A traumatic brain injury is a life-altering experience. Injury to the brain can affect communication, personality, motor function, cognitive function and more. In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at what a TBI is and how it affects cognitive function.
What is a traumatic brain injury (TBI)?
Simply stated, a traumatic brain injury is a physical assault on the brain by an external force. TBIs can be classified as closed brain injuries and penetrating brain injuries.
Closed brain injury: This type of injury occurs when the brain is jarred in the skull. These types of injuries occur from car accidents, falls or in sports. They can range in severity from a mild concussion to permanent brain injury and even death.
Penetrating brain injury: This type of injury is the result of a gunshot wound, stabbing or other penetration through the skull. Because penetrating brain injuries damage the brain tissue directly, they are generally severe in nature and result in permanent brain damage or death.
Cognitive challenges that can stem from a TBI
The gamut of TBI-induced cognitive deficits is long and can include confusion, shortened attention span, amnesia, problem-solving challenges, decreased awareness of self and others, short-term memory loss, difficulty finding words to put to thoughts, difficulty reading and writing and difficulty working with numbers, among many others.
Broadly speaking, these deficits fall into the following categories: attention and concentration, behavior, short-term or long-term memory, processing information, language and communication, planning and organizing and reasoning and problem-solving.
Let’s break it down a little further.
A deficit in the following areas can cause these issues:
Attention and concentration: It can be difficult to do more than one thing at a time or stay focused on the task at hand.
Behavior: Mood swings, emotional outbursts, impulse-control, anxiety and depression are not uncommon.
Short-term or long-term memory loss: Storing and recalling memories can be especially challenging.
Processing information: It can take longer to read and understand information.
Language and communication: Finding the right words and forming concise, coherent sentences can be difficult. Non-verbal communication can also be compromised.
Planning and organizing: It can be difficult to break large tasks into smaller steps. Starting and completing tasks takes more effort and may be impossible without outside help.
Reasoning and problem solving: For people with a traumatic brain injury, it can be difficult to recognize a problem and consider effective solutions to that problem. Judgment may be impaired.
LearningRx can help!
We know this is a heavy topic, especially for people who are affected by it personally or have a loved one who lives with a TBI. However, we want to offer you hope! Over the years at our LearningRx centers, we’ve worked with hundreds of children and adults whose lives have been altered by traumatic brain injuries.
We performed a study where we looked at 386 child and adult TBI clients who attended our clinics over the course of nine years. These clients made the greatest gains in long-term memory, auditory processing and broad attention. Long-term memory improved an average of 3.9 years over the course of our clients’ therapy.
When you first connect with us, we will have you complete a cognitive skills assessment. This gives us insight into which cognitive skills have been compromised by the traumatic brain injury. Then we can create a customized brain training plan to boost those weak areas.
Check out this encouraging story from Jim, one of our TBI clients, and hear about his transformational experience working with LearningRx.
If you’d like to learn more about our brain training services and how we can help TBI clients boost weak cognitive skills, visit our website or contact us here!