My Parent Has a Brain Injury

My Parent Has a Brain Injury

Jo Johnson, Ph.D.
A parent's brain injury can change a child's world. This book helps sons and daughters understand the physical, cognitive and emotional changes in a parent after an acquired brain injury due to trauma, stroke, tumor, disease or anoxia. It gives information about the brain that is clear and easily understood among elementary, middle and high school age children. Most importantly, it helps sons and daughters understand how and why their relationship with their injured parent has changed. Filled with quotes and exercises, children share their personal feelings about living with a parent who has a brain injury and what life is like at home. This honest and insightful book with colorful graphics is an essential tool to help children cope.
Item: MPBI
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Full Description

The needs of young people are often the forgotten as families struggle to rebuild their lives after a parent has a brain injury. At a time of trauma and uncertainty, they frequently feel upset, confused and excluded from the information loop. Efforts to shield and protect children often unintentionally increase their stress and anxiety.

A parent's discharge from the hospital or rehabilitation center often brings mixed reactions among sons and daughters as the reality of living with a parent who has a brain injury now “comes home”.

The book, My Parent Has a Brain Injury gives factual information about brain injury. It provides information to reassure young people about the wide range of feelings they might be experiencing as well as strategies to help them deal with these emotions. It addresses that most difficult and frequent question of “How can I help our children understand what has happened? How can I help them now?”

This book has been written in a clear and colorful way that will appeal to young people across a wide range of ages. The numerous quotes, graphics and exercises make it engaging for readers. It can be used as a stand alone resource or to support individual or group work in clinical or home settings.

ISBN# 978-0-9557588-3-6
Pages 73 full color
Year 2012


Jo Johnson, Ph.D.

Jo Johnson has been working as a neuropsychologist for fifteen years in England. Her special interests include brain injury and multiple sclerosis. She is especially talented and skilled at educating and supporting children about the impact of illness or disability on parental relationships.

Previous publications include, Shrinking the Monster, a workbook for people with MS. This book won a plain English award in 2009. She has written several books to meet the needs of children who have a parent with a neurological diagnosis including How to Talk to Your Kids about MS, My Mum Makes the Best Cakes and My Dad Makes the Best Boats.


1 - What's the point of this book?

2 - What's an ABI?

3 - Facts about the Brain

4 - After a brain injury – why is everyone so different?

5 - Why has my parent changed?

6 - My family is so different now

7 - Why am I feeling like this?

8 - What can I do to look after myself?

9 - When you must see a doctor

10 - Can anything good come out of my situation?

11 - Other young people's stories

12 - Further help



Review by Barbara Webster

"This compact, easy to read guide, is packed with an extraordinary amount of helpful information for any young person living with a parent who has sustained a brain injury. The chapters concerning emotions, with practical tools for coping and self care, will be especially valuable to the reader. Parents might also find this book to be a helpful guide for talking to their children and tending to their needs, as the whole family travels the difficult journey of brain injury."

Review by Janet Cromer, RN, MA, LMHC

How many kids want to read a book about brain injury? My Parent Has a Brain Injury takes on a topic kids might dread in an inviting, companionable, and empowering style. In a slim volume packed with information, Dr. Johnson focuses on the topics that most bother kids and teens. Those topics include what happens in brain injury, changes in the parent’s personality and behavior, differences in the family, and the child’s confusing emotions. Even complex topics such as cognition and executive functions are described in clear and direct language.

Over half of the book is devoted to the child’s emotions and building adaptive skills. Kids will like all the colorful lists of tips to hone specific coping skills and make family life easier. Creative approaches to taking care of yourself are balanced by reminders of when to ask adults for help. Both parents and kids will appreciate the honest discussion of depression, embarrassment, resentment, guilt, unfairness, and anxiety. The chapter on “When you must see a doctor” describes troubled thoughts, feelings, and behaviors without making the reader feel shamed or “crazy.”

Riveting stories and quotes from kids will open adult eyes to children’s experiences, worries, and resourcefulness while making kids say, “Yeah, just like me!” There is even space for the reader to write his/her own story.

My Parent Has A Brain Injury is a terrific book for a child or teen, and a valuable resource in many settings. Parents can select specific areas to read with younger children. Older kids will flip right to the chapter that answers their questions. Support groups and schools can use the book to raise awareness, prompt discussion and provide accurate information. Every library should have a copy! The book scores a high “coolness quotient” by including funny illustrations and social media resources.

My Parent Has A Brain Injury offers many innovative ways for a child to understand changes, strengthen family bonds, gain more control, express emotions, and build resilience.

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