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How should you communicate with someone who has a TBI?

When someone close to you has been the victim of a tragic accident that has resulted in a traumatic brain injury, you may be left feeling uncertain about how to communicate with him or her. Because a TBI can affect the way your loved one receives, processes and responds to information, your education about how to effectively communicate with someone who has a TBI may help you to be empathetic and understanding.

One thing that you can do is to become educated about TBIs and how having one can affect a person's ability to complete daily tasks, communicate with others and cope with the daily stresses of life. Demonstrating a willingness to learn can be an incredible way to show your support in helping your loved one acclimate to his or her new normal.

Recognize that learning to communicate with someone who has a TBI will require patience and a bit of trial and error. You may be faced with situations where your lack of familiarity with a brain injury has resulted in an outcome that did not go as planned. In these situations, practice flexibility and assess what can be done differently in the future to have a more effective interaction with your loved one. suggests several helpful tips that you may implement in your effort to communicate effectively with someone who has a TBI. One thing you can do is ask questions and be confident in your conversation. Never give more assistance than what was asked for. Encourage your loved one to be as independent as possible and provide praise and encouragement. Learn to value repetition and do not be offended if you are asked to repeat what you have said. Also, remember that concentration may be limited for your loved one so be concise in your conversation. 

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