– Language & Communication

Severe language problems may be experienced by someone who has sustained local damage to the language centres, such as a left hemisphere stroke, but that is less common after a closed head injury.

However, some people have difficulty expressing their thoughts and understanding others. Word-finding difficulties or inappropriate word selection are fairly common and some injured people may feel the need to provide lengthy descriptions or explanations to overcome their inability to find a word – or to buy time to think of the correct word. For example, they might seem to talk around a subject, using many words where only a few are needed. Some people may have difficulty in understanding sarcasm or multiple meanings in jokes and may have difficulty identifying individual words or breaking down the structure of sentences to extract the meaning.

The ABI survivor is often unaware of their errors and can become frustrated or angry, placing blame for communication difficulties on the person with whom they are speaking. Reading, writing and spelling abilities are often more of a challenge than the ability to speak and understand the spoken word. Simple and complex mathematical abilities are also frequently affected.