Dad's reading problems

Hi My dad is making good progress since his TBI a month ago (contusions and large bleed on left hemisphere) and is now stable. We seem to understand most of what he says and he knows who we are although struggles to remember names. He suffers from perseveration. He is no awareness of risk to himself and keeps running up and down the corridor on the neuro ward when he can!

He doesn't seem to want to watch tv or listen to music. He seems to flick through the newspaper but says when he looks at words they tilt sideways and then the words on one side of the page cross over. Is this is a common experience? Is there anything we can do to help?

9 Replies

Hi there

Glad your dad is making progress. Maybe concentration is also a problem regarding watching TV and reading? Short spells maybe?

Lots of us experience reading difficulties post BI, some find large print, or audio books helpful. Good luck


The fact that he's making progress is more important than his unusual behaviour whilst in hospital. Unusual behaviour in the first few weeks to months after a brain injury I imagine is common and you can't draw any conclusions with regards to his eventual outcome at this stage, so I wouldn't worry. That doesn't mean to say you should ignore it, try gentle persuasion and reward good behaviour to reinforce it. Be aware that what you think is strange behaviour may be perfectly reasonable to him I.e. walking down corridors. It may be his way of finding himself, the hospital can feel depressing and people can feel trapped especially if they're forced to stay there for long periods. Boredom is also common especially if you lose interest in activities you once enjoyed I.e. music, TV, etc.

People are often placed onto high dose anti-seizure medication after a brain injury of enough severity for their safety. This is the case even if they've not had an epileptic seizure, because the risk is still there. My own experience of taking them is that they make you feel drowsy and don't help your mood or cognition.

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I'm glad your dad is doing well. I had problems reading at first but I persevered and eventually it came right but I couldn't read a newspaper, the type was too small and the lines used to run into one another, I found my kindle the best cos I could vary the type size and it remembered where I was when I put it down.

I found films on the TV or DVDs diverting too, I really came to rely on the structure of the day in hospital too, I still like to be in bed by 10, and I have trouble getting going in a morning.

Hope things keep on improving Janet xx

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At about the 6 week stage I was given thorough hearing and sight tests. Has your dad had such tests ?

As Barny mentioned, there can be some irregularities of behaviour & perception in the early stages after a bleed so try not to worry too much. I kept thanking my daughter for being such a good neighbour as to visit me daily whilst calling her by that neighbour's name.

And the state-of-the-art, immaculate hospital came constantly under attack from me when I constantly assured the staff that, as soon as I was capable, I would clean all the filthy cobwebs from the ceiling !

Hope your dad's progress continues to the satisfaction of the doctors and loved ones.

Cat x


Yes. It's quite common. I could not read one page of my ipad without the light going off. And that was in big print. I also fell out of the hospital bed, and was trying to pull out all the pipes. Now I can read, but it took a long time for the print to stay still!

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Thank you everyone for your helpful replies. It's always so reassuring to hear from you all. He's had a comprehensive eye test and vision seems similar to before but it's clear he has processing problems. Hopefully he can get through this as he's always loved reading, but I guess it'll be a slow journey. He was allowed home today for a short home visit which was brilliant! :-)


The new brain injury occupational therapist gave me a yellow plastic sleeve to put documents in to read to see if it made a difference and it has especially with really white paper.

Perhaps your dad has double vision or he needs some different glasses if things are jiggling around. It took me three years to try the yellow plastic, and 18 months to have a routine eye test which showed up that I needed a different prescription.

I'm just throwing ideas up in the air incase one of them works for him.


Thanks that's definitely worth a try - he's described the words sliding away. I'll speak to the therapists about it. Thanks for the great advice and good luck to you!


I had a brain haemorrhage and I know at the beginning my short term memory and my concentration were severely impaired. Also I had acquired dyslexia but I could not understand why the magazines I looked at made no sense at all. I also had the tilting thing which I think was to do with balance.

All of these things have improved a lot with time and with help. Although I could not read at all at the beginning, I did find it therapeutic to write what was happening and how I felt down. It also helped over time when I could get others to read it back to me and I could see the progress I had made, even though it seemed so slow.

I wish your dad all the best. As far as helping, being there for him, reminding him, maybe reading to him and letting him know he is not alone. When your short term memory has been damaged you can feel very alone.


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