Helping Teens after Brain Injury

Helping Teens after Brain Injury

Robyn Littleford, M.Ed. and Nancy Anderson, M.S.W.
A teen or adolescent with a brain injury is at a critical developmental stage for social skills and learning. This tip card helps clinicians, educators, counselors and parents understand the developmental challenges of teens after a head injury. It shows how to support their independence, help build friendships, and educate peers about brain injury (TBI).
Item: TEEN
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Full Description

Teens or adolescents with brain injury often find that friends drift away or change after a brain injury. Stress and anxiety over interacting with peers can lead to immature behavior or social isolation by teens with brain injury. This tip card shows how parents can help teens become more independent while setting safe limits on risky behaviors and handling peer pressure. It gives tips on keeping safe, avoiding drugs and alcohol, sexual health, driving and building friendships.

Details
Item TEEN
Pages 8
Year 2002

Contents

This tip card helps clinicians, educators, counselors and parents...

  • understand developmental challenges
  • support growth of independence
  • help youth build friendships
  • educate youth, peers and family

A Time of Change

  • A developmental stage

Establishing a Personal Identity

Forming Relationships Outside the Family

Becoming Independent

Choosing a Vocation/Life Activity

How to Help

  • Tips on supporting the youth’s independence and development of adult identity

Keep the Injured Youth Safe

  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Sexual health
  • Driving

Help build friendships

  • Tips on helping the injured adolescent
  • Tips on helping friends
  • Tips on providing education/support to the injured youth and family

References

Excerpts

Sample excerpt. Preview only – please do not copy.

A Time of Change

Sustaining a brain injury during adolescence can significantly complicate and even permanently affect the completion of these developmental tasks. The “typical” changes of adolescence can be compounded by additional physical, cognitive, emotional and social changes caused by the brain injury. This creates challenges for the youth who is struggling to grow up and mature into an independent adult. There are also challenges for the parent to help the youth stay safe and avoid further injury.

Forming Relationships Outside the Family

Keeping friends can be difficult, as the adolescent with a brain injury may...

  • no longer be at the same cognitive and behavioral level as peers
  • not know the “rules” or “code” of age-appropriate social behavior
  • be unable to initiate conversation or activity
  • be fatigued and have different interests now
  • have fewer opportunities to interact with peers or participate in the same activities as peers

Friends of the adolescent may...

  • not understand how or why their friend has changed
  • not accept the changes and limitations of their friend
  • not know what is appropriate to talk about
  • be afraid of upsetting their friend or of asking personal question

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