Acquired brain injury (ABI)…

“In one moment, every year, approximately 50,000 children and young people’s lives will change forever. They will acquire a brain injury through an accident, illness/tumour or poisoning. It is not their fault and they do not expect it to happen.”

Lisa Turan – Chief Executive, Child Brain Injury Trust

So, what exactly is a brain injury?…

The Child Brain Injury Trust’s definition:

‘An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that has happened AFTER birth i.e. after a period of normal development. It could be the result of an accident (such as a road traffic accident or fall), an illness (such as encephalitis or meningitis), a stroke, a brain tumour, poisoning or non-surgical interventions.’

How brains get injured…

– Traumatic injury – caused by falls, physical abuse or assaults, road accidents, sports injuries – bikes, skateboards, horses, rugby, etc., near drowning

– Illness for example a stroke, epilepsy or a tumour on the brain; a metabolic problem such as phenylketonuria – which can lead to seizures

– Infection – such as encephalitis or meningitis

– Medically induced – as a result of invasive surgery on the brain (e.g. to remove a tumour) or the impact of radiation treatment or drugs to treat other serious illnesses (e.g. leukaemia)

5 points to remember…

1.  Age at injuryBrain injury is very complex, but as a general rule, the earlier in a child’s life the injury happens, the more serious the effects can be. However, severity is also a factor, as is the location of the injury. Older children have already gained many of the developmental skills prior to being injured. Injuries in younger children can impair or de-rail this process.

2.  Invisibility at firstABIs in most children have no obvious outward physical sign. However, as the child grows, functional difficulties (e.g. cognitive and language processing problems) can become more evident. Manifestations of the injury can continue to arise until the brain reaches maturation, usually in the early twenties.

3.  Problems later – It can sometimes be years after the injury that difficulties appear and become more obvious.

4.  Behaviour is affected This is an intrinsic part of ABI. It happens either…

      • As a direct result of the injury itself
      • Because the child struggles to cope with the problems caused by it
      • Or both

5.  Some strengths may be preserved – Brain injured kids have many strengths! These are the foundational basis upon which future progress and coping are built

The Work of the Child Brain Injury Trust…

This short video shares he experiences of some families dealing with ABIs and summarises the great work of the Child Brain Injury Trust

Help is available…

Future posts on this blog will examine the kinds of physical, intellectual, emotional and behavioural changes induced by ABIs.
In the meantime, help is at hand!

There is excellent information available, free to download, on the Child Brain Injury Trust website.

Those affected can call the:



– What has helped you cope with caring for a brain injured child?

– Can you recommend any resources to help others?

– Please leave a comment below or just click here.

Related posts…

– David Bainbridge on the teenage brain

– Recommended book – The Developing Mind

– Why kid’s brains really matter…

– The the brain matters in youth justice…

– Teenage brain – the neuroscientists survival guide to raising adolescents & young adults…

Pass it on…

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© Jonny Matthew 2016 (2013)

© Jonny Matthew 2016 (2013)

(I’m very grateful for the help of Louise Wilkinson of The Child Brain Injury Trust in preparing this post – THANKS Louise!)

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