Acquired Brain Injury
Specialist Therapy Services
Child in Mind Ltd provide specialist therapy services for clients who are struggling to cope following an acquired brain injury. We accept these specialist referrals from Solicitors, Case Management Companies, or directly from the families affected by ABI.
Around 135,000 people are admitted to UK hospitals every year after sustaining an acquired brain injury. Of those approximately 20,000 are children. Although the vast majority of these children show no outward physical signs of disability the psychological impact of acquired brain injury can be as devastating as the injury itself.
Children, and their families need help to work through the painful feelings that, left untended, can impede the overall progress of the child. Through Play Therapy the child can express their emotions without the need to verbalise and rationalise. This is of real importance where these higher functioning skills have been impaired as a result of the injury to the brain.
Considering the changes that occur in children's lives following a brain injury, not to mention the trauma they may have experienced, it is not surprising that some children may need help to express and make sense of their feelings.
Following an ABI children's lives change and they may experience feelings of loss, fear, grief, anger, anxiety, sadness and depression in response to this, in much the same way as an adult would. The difficulty for children is that they are less able to verbally express their emotions and need help to do this by other means.
Significant life changes can result in emotional distress being experienced by any child.
However for a brain injured child, change takes place in almost every aspect of their life. Their new way of being in the world is unfamiliar to them, and psychologically they may feel unsafe and uncontained.
Relationships change following brain injury, often leading to a change in role and status.
Friendships often change in subtle ways that may be imperceptible to busy adults, it may be that whilst the child is still accepted by their peers they are no longer included in the same way. This is difficult for the child to accept, particularly if they were previously very popular.
Home life can be confusing and frustrating as the child's status changes. There can be a role reversal as younger siblings begin to take on the role of 'big brother or sister', and maybe overtake the child with educational achievements or sports, leisure and social activities. Relationships with parents can become tense as the child resists new, and seemingly unfair, boundaries. Disagreement can take place between carers in how best to parent the brain injured child, again leading to feelings of confusion frustration and resentment for the child.
Physically the child may be less able than they were prior to the brain injury. They may not be able to go out alone, their playground activities may be more closely boundaried to protect them from physical harm, and their sporting capabilities may be reduced.
Educationally they may be less able, and old fantasies of how their future might look may have to be surrendered in the light of lesser capabilities.
Fear and Grief
When the brain injury is the result of an accident where other family members have died the child will of course be grieving for the lost family members. In a skewed attempt to protect the child from distress the surviving family members may avoid speaking about the accident or the deceased family members. The child becomes complicit in this avoidance and holds onto his/her painful feelings. Because of this caregivers may wrongly assume that the child is coping well and getting on with life.
Children can become fearful, not wanting to be left alone, or needing to know where everybody is at all times. Some children may suffer PTSD and will need specialist help.
Child in Mind Ltd believe in equal access for all and welcome enquiries from minority groups.