Communication difficulties

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Sometimes, result the brain injury isn't obvious. We can see if someone's in a wheelchair, it's obvious they have a problem. Sometimes though, people are what we call "walking wounded". One of those problems they could have is communication. This can be really frustrating if you can't make somebody understand what you're trying to say. It can also be very dangerous.

Sometimes, it's people getting confused with words, maybe using the wrong word in the wrong place, maybe saying "collywobble" instead of "cauliflower". Might sound the same but totally different meaning. I took a group of people with brain injury away on a holiday, and a chap was getting really angry with me. He kept saying the word "orange", so I gave him an orange. That's not what he wanted so I tried again with an orange drink, and he still got angry with me. I couldn't understand why he was getting angry with me and nobody else. Then I realized that one of my duties was to give out the medication. What he was trying to say to me was he wanted his tablet. His tablet wasn't even orange, but he thought he was saying to me, "Tablet." He wasn't, he was saying "orange". But as far as he was concerned, it was me with a problem because I didn't understand, not him that was using the wrong word.

Quite often, people can't recall the word they want. They know it in their head and their brain but they can't get their mouth to say it. That can be very frustrating. Sometimes, it's tempting to tell the word that we think somebody's trying to say but that can be equally annoying. We have to know the person we're working to know whether they want us to try and guess what they're saying or whether they need those few minutes extra to process that word and try and find it. We have some people after brain injury who can't talk at all and We might have to use electronic aids for those people, or we might use sign language. We like Amerind which is American-Indian sign language. It's easy to learn and easy for people to understand. We have found that drawing can be useful. Maybe somebody can draw what they wanted to say if they can't tell us. We had an instance when somebody was hurt and some of their brain injury wanted to find out how that person was but they couldn't vocalize that so he drew a picture of somebody in an ambulance. We all knew what he meant and we are able to tell him.

We have to remember that just because people can't speak doesn't mean to say that they don't understand what we're saying. That's a different part of the brain, so, therefore, they might be able to comprehend what we're saying to them and they might be able to read what we're saying even if they can't talk to us. Some people after brain injury will have their own language. Only they understand that. But again, they will think they're talking to us normally, and that can be very frustrating. There have been some cases of people coming out of coma talking a perfect fluent other language such as Italian. We have yet to find out why people have that in their brain when they have never spoken Italian before, but after brain injury, are able to speak that. It just proves how fascinating the brain is and how unique to everybody their brain is.