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Brain injury communication

K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Sweetie) – Part 2


Understanding spoken communications is often difficult with an injured brain. In a conversation, there is SO MUCH happening that you don’t think about. The brain that is receiving the words/sentences is very busy as it processes all the pieces that make up the spoken communication. There is the volume, speed and clarity of the words as I mentioned in my last post. Here are a few more tips for family, friends and caregivers to help us with injured brains understand things more easily:

Don’t use a lot of complexity in your conversation – long sentences, big words, new words, acronyms add to the complexity that needs to be deciphered by our brain. An injured brain often has to strain to work through this complexity making it fatiguing and sometimes frustrating for the person trying to understand what is said.

Don’t use double negatives – I have a real problem with this. When someone says “Isn’t it true that you did not eat breakfast?” My brain gets tangled on unraveling the two NOT’s and I don’t know how to answer. This is just one example but people often speak with several negatives in a sentence which confuses the heck out of me and my brain is stumbling about trying figure it out. Fatiguing…. Frustrating….

Try to tone down the emotion – Adding a strong emotion to what is being said is another part that needs to be processed by the brain. For me, negative emotions that the speaker is conveying in their conversation is a burden for my brain even when the emotion is not directed at me. Anger or frustration in the conversation is another piece that our brains have to do something with as we are trying to understand what is being said to us. It gets in the way of easily understanding.

And there is more to say about all this… next time. Just remember, K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, sweetie) if you want the person with the injured brain to be more successful in understanding what is being said, and you don’t want to create unnecessary fatigue or frustration.

2 Replies

Well said


It may seem a daft thing to say, but with my brain injury I take almost all my cues and feelings about others from unspoken communications. This means an even closer bond to animals because they don't speak english (obviously). For me, if I'm talking with someone and I see them look away or at a clock or something, I instantly feel that they have had enough or want to do something else. This is something that is actually true but the other person will argue about because of their embarrassment of me stating it. It may well not be as burning for them or even conscious for them, but I seem to be very focussed on body language. This has got less intense as time has passed by though.


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