After Traumatic Brain Injury
Brain injury is not a static diagnosis of pathology within the skull. It is about a functional change in a human being after Traumatic Brain Injury. Thus, the most important issue to examine in making a diagnosis of brain injury is whether the individual has had a change in the way they think. Maybe a change in the way they process information. The way they remember and most importantly, the way they behave. Neuropsychological assessment provides us part of that puzzle. They do this by measuring the functioning of that person’s brain, but only in a laboratory setting. The full extent of impact on a person’s life after traumatic brain injury will not be understood until the change of that person’s function in the real world, is fully comprehended.
Many professionals start with a checklist of brain injury symptoms. The elements of a TBI checklist provide some pieces of the puzzle. The most disabling issues are often not the cognitive things typically found on the checklist. Fatigue, disinhibition, changed social interactions, can leave a survivor unemployable despite a normal IQ. Don’t underestimate significance of neurological disorder. Such disorders as balance problems and seizures.
It is important in asking the survivor the questions on the checklist. It is more importatn to ask those who have known that person. Ideally, the person interviewed after traumatic brain injury would have known the survivor both before and after the injur. These people include a family member, or co-worker. It may be hard to find before and after witnesses. Becuase TBI survivor has changed their behavior patterns so drastically their community integrations have changed after traumatic brain injury. Thus, it may be sufficient to interview people who may not have had much contact with the person, either before or after the accident. In such case, the asssessment looks at the nature of reports of the survivor’s functioning, as a whole.