Acquired brain injury This term indicates that the individual experienced normal growth and development from conception through birth, until sustaining an injury to the brain at some later time which resulted in impairment of brain function.


Agitation Uncontrolled restlessness, upset or excitement in response to internal or external factors.


Amnesia Lack of memory about events occurring during a particular period of time.


Aneurysm Swelling or dilation of an artery due to a weakened wall. A blood-filled sac formed by disease related stretching of an artery or blood vessel. The artery or vessel wall weakens as the sac grows larger, and may eventually burst, causing a haemorrhage.


Anticonvulsant Medication used to decrease the possibility of a seizure.
Antidepressants Medication used to treat depression.
Asperger’s Asperger syndrome (autism.org.uk)



Articulation Movement of the lips, tongue, teeth and palate into specific patterns for purposes of speech.


Aspiration When food or liquid goes into your lungs instead of your stomach.


Assistive equipment A special device which assists in the performance of self-care, work or play/leisure activities or physical exercise.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects people’s behaviour. People with ADHD can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – NHS (www.nhs.uk)










Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world


What is autism



Behaviour disorders


For the patient exhibiting patterns of behaviour preventing participation in active rehabilitation, including destructive patient behaviour to self and others; continuum of controlled settings


Bolus/Intermittent Feeding


A prescribed volume of feed given slowly via a syringe at a specific time.


Brain scan An imaging technique in which a radioactive dye is injected into the blood stream and then pictures of the brain are taken to detect tumors, hemorrhages, blood clots, abscesses or abnormal anatomy.


Catheter A flexible tube for withdrawing fluids from, or introducing fluids into, a cavity of the body. Frequently used to drain the urinary bladder.


Cerebral palsy The name for a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and co-ordination. It’s caused by a problem with the brain that develops before, during or soon after birth.

Cerebral palsy – NHS (www.nhs.uk)


Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) A referral to CAMHS may be made by a professional or organisation involved with your child who has concerns about their emotional, behavioural or mental health wellbeing. CAMHS is a multidisciplinary team and may include psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and psychiatric nurses who will assess your child in order to develop a treatment plan to best meet their needs.


Chronic Marked by long duration or frequent recurrence.


Clinical Psychologist A clinical psychologist will assess your child in order to provide a detailed report on how their acquired brain injury may have impacted on their learning, behaviour, social and emotional functioning and ability to adapt. This information can then be shared with other professionals involved with your child to ensure the best supports and services are in place to help manage their difficulties more effectively.


Cognition The conscious process of knowing or being aware of thoughts or perceptions, including understanding and reasoning.


Coma A state of unconsciousness from which the patient cannot be awakened, even by powerful stimulation; lack of any response to one’s environment.


Communicative disorder An impairment in the ability to 1) receive and/or process a symbol system, 2) represent concepts or symbol systems, and/or 3) transmit and use symbol systems. The impairment may be observed in disorders of hearing, language, and/or speech processes.


Comprehension Understanding of spoken, written, or gestural communication.


Concentration The ability to focus on a given task or set of stimuli for an appropriate period of time.


Concrete thinking A style of thinking in which the individual sees each situation as unique and is unable to generalize from the similarities between situations. Language and perceptions are interpreted literally so that a proverb such as “a stitch in time saves nine” cannot be readily grasped




A state in which a person is bewildered, perplexed, or unable to self-orient.


Continuous feeding Continuous feeds are the administration of a feed at a slower rate over a prolonged period.


CT Scan A series of X-rays taken at different levels of the brain that allows the direct visualization of the skull and intracranial structures. A scan is often taken soon after the injury to help decide if surgery is needed. The scan may be repeated later to see how the brain is recovering.


Direct Payments If you, or the person you are looking after, have been assessed as needing social services support from your local council or trust, you may be offered a direct payment instead of receiving the support arranged by the local council or trust. Generally, direct payments for carers are a one-off payment given to support the carer to have some time to look after their own wellbeing. For example, the payment could be used to go to the gym, or pay for driving lessons or a break away.
Discipline When referring to health care or education it means a particular field of study, such as medicine, occupational therapy, nursing, recreation therapy or others.


Distractibility The inability to hold attention on an activity.


Disinhibition Inability to suppress (inhibit) impulsive behaviour and emotions.


Disorientation Not knowing where you are, who you are, or the current date.




Down’s syndrome


Down’s syndrome is when you’re born with an extra chromosome. People with Down’s syndrome will have some level of learning disability. This means they’ll have a range of abilities.


Down’s syndrome – NHS (www.nhs.uk)




A common learning difficulty that mainly causes problems with reading, writing and spelling.


Dysphagia A swallowing disorder characterized by difficulty in oral preparation for the swallow, or in moving material from the mouth to the stomach. This also includes problems in positioning food in the mouth.


Edema Collection of fluid in the tissue causing swelling


Educational Psychologist Educational psychologists assess your child’s cognitive abilities using specially designed tests. The results of these tests are then used to advise parents, teachers and school of any special educational needs your child might have. You can also self-refer to educational psychology if you have any concerns.


Electroencephalogram (EEG) A procedure that uses electrodes on the scalp to record electrical activity of the brain. Used for detection of epilepsy, coma, and brain death.


Electromyography (EMG) An insertion of needle electrodes into muscles to study the electrical activity of muscle and nerve fibres. It may be somewhat painful to the patient. Helps diagnose damage to nerves or muscles.


Emotional lability Exhibiting rapid and drastic changes in emotional state (laughing, crying, and anger) inappropriately without apparent reason.


Endotracheal tube A tube that serves as an artificial airway and is inserted through the patient’s mouth or nose. It passes through the throat and into the air passages to help breathing. To do this it must also pass through the patient’s vocal cords. The patient will be unable to speak as long as the endotracheal tube is in place. It is this tube that connects the respirator to the patient.




Epilepsy is a common condition that affects the brain and causes frequent seizures.


Epilepsy – NHS (www.nhs.uk)


Fluent aphasia A condition in which patients display little meaning in their speech even though they speak in complete sentences. Also called Wernicke’s or motor aphasia.


Foley catheter


This is a tube inserted into the urinary bladder for drainage of urine. The urine drains through the tube and collects into a plastic bag.


Gastrostomy Tube Feeding devices which allow liquid feed, fluids and/ or medicines to be delivered directly into the stomach


GI tube A tube inserted through a surgical opening into the stomach. It is used to introduce liquids, food, or medication into the stomach when the patient is unable to take these substances by mouth.


Global aphasia A condition in which patients suffer severe communication disabilities as a result of extensive damage to portions of the brain responsible for language.


Impulsiveness Doing or saying something too quickly, often leading to errors and difficulties.


Incontinent Inability to control bowel and bladder functions. Many people who are incontinent can become continent with training.


Kinesthesia The sensory awareness of body parts as they move.


Learning disability A learning disability affects the way a person learns new things throughout their life. A learning disability is different for everyone. No two people are the same. A person with a learning disability might have some difficulty:

·      understanding complicated information

·      learning some skills

·      looking after themselves or living alone


Locked-in syndrome A condition in which a patient is aware and awake, but cannot move or communicate due to complete paralysis of the body.


Long term memory In neuropsychological testing, this refers to recall thirty minutes or longer after presentation. Requires storage and retrieval of information which exceeds the limit of short term memory.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) A non-invasive diagnostic technique that uses magnetic fields to create an image of soft tissue, central nervous system and musculoskeletal systems. Used to detect subtle changes in brain tissue.


Meningitis Inflammation of the three membranes that envelop the brain and spinal cord, collectively known as the meninges.


Motor control Regulation of the timing and amount of contraction of muscles of the body to produce smooth and coordinated movement. The regulation is carried out by operation of the nervous system.


Nasogastric tube a tube that passes through the patient’s nose and throat and ends in the patient’s stomach. This tube allows for direct “tube feeding” to maintain the nutritional status of the patient or removal of stomach acids.


Neuropsychologist A psychologist who specializes in evaluating (by tests) brain/behaviour relationships, planning training programs to help the survivor of brain injury return to normal functioning and recommending alternative cognitive and behavioural strategies to minimize the effects of brain injury. Often works closely with schools and employers as well as with family members of the injured person.


Non-fluent aphasia A condition in which patients have trouble recalling words and speaking in complete sentences. Also called Broca’s or motor aphasia.


Occupational therapy (OT) Occupational therapy is the therapeutic use of self-care, work and play activities to increase independent function, enhance development and prevent disability; may include the adaptation of a task or the environment to achieve maximum independence and to enhance the quality of life.


Orogastric (tube) feeding Nutrition support provided by a tube inserted through the mouth via the oesophagus into the stomach


Orthopaedics The branch of medicine devoted to the study and treatment of the skeletal system, its joints, muscles and associated structures.


Outpatient The patient residing outside the hospital but returning on a regular

basis for one or more therapeutic services.


Paediatrician A Paediatrician is a doctor who has specialist training in all aspects of children’s health and development. They are usually based in a hospital or community setting and work closely with you and your family.


Physiotherapist A physiotherapist is an expert in helping people with movement problems. They will assess your child and devise programmes to help manage or teach new ways to overcome difficulties.


Personal Independence Payments (PIPs)


Personal Independence Payment (PIP) can help with extra living costs if you have both:

·      a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability

·      difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around because of your condition


Prognosis The prospect as to recovery from a disease or injury as indicated by the nature and symptoms of the case.


Proprioception The sensory awareness of the position of body parts with or without movement.


Psychiatrist A psychiatrist usually works as part of a multi-disciplinary team that will include other mental health professionals such as psychologists, occupational therapists, counsellors and nurses. They are experts in the behavioural and emotional difficulties that may arise as the result of a neurological disorder. They assess and treat patients through a combination of psychotherapy, medication and in some instances hospitalisation.


Psychologist A professional specialising in counselling, including adjustment to disability. Psychologists use tests to identify personality and cognitive functioning. This information is shared with team members to assure consistency in approaches. The psychologist may provide individual or group psychotherapy for the purpose of cognitive retraining, management of behaviour and the development of coping skills by the patient/client and members of the family.


Rehabilitation Comprehensive program to reduce/overcome deficits following injury or illness, and to assist the individual to attain the optimal level of mental and physical ability.


Residential services Assumes a 24-hour residential environment outside the home and includes 24-hour provision of or access to support personnel capable of meeting the client’s needs.


Rigidity This simply means stiffness, resistance to movement.


Seizure Abnormal activity of nerve cells in the brain causing strange sensations, emotions, and behaviour, or sometimes convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness.


Short term memory Primary or ‘working’ memory; its contents are in conscious awareness. A limited capacity system that holds up to seven chunks of information over periods of 30 seconds to several minutes, depending upon the person’s attention to the task.


Shunt A procedure to draw off excessive fluid in the brain. A surgically-placed tube running from the ventricles which deposits fluid into either the abdominal

cavity, heart or large veins of the neck.


Social Worker A social worker helps individuals and families to enhance their individual and collective well-being. They aim to help people develop their skills and their ability to use their own resources and those of the community to resolve problems.


Speech and Language Therapist


A speech and language therapist is an expert in communication and language skills and their development. They can help and advise on alternative communication techniques or devices if required


Stoma A surgical created opening into the body from outside the body.


Supported independent living Setting is a home chosen by the consumer who is primarily independent. Program offers support to assist the resident in maximising and/or maintaining independence and self-direction. Staff is available as needed and at planned intervals to offer assistance and support but not to provide supervision.


Tactile defensiveness Being overly sensitive to touch; withdrawing, crying, yelling or striking when one is touched.


Tracheostomy A temporary surgical opening at the front of the throat providing access to the trachea or windpipe to assist in breathing.


Tremor Regular repetitive movements which may be worse either at rest or on attempted movement.


Verbal apraxia Impaired control of proper sequencing of muscles used in speech (tongue, lips, jaw muscles, vocal cords). These muscles are not weak but their control is defective. Speech is laboured and characterized by sound reversals, additions and word approximations.

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