Date
26 September 2021

Changes to cognition and thinking processes

Understand the impacts on learning and wellbeing.

On this page:

On this page:

Current page section: Changes to cognition and thinking processes

Go to top of current page: Changes to cognition and thinking processes

Show list of page sections

Challenges and frustrations

Challenges and frustrations

Young people with brain injuries explain their difficulties and frustrations.

  • I study for twice as long as I used to, but I’m doing much worse.
  • I can’t remember anything I read no matter how many times I re-read the same thing.
  • I study hard and feel like I know the material. Then I go into the test and can’t come up with the answers.
  • Essay exams are murder. I need 20 minutes to think of what I want to say and then the time has run out.
  • I get so tired I can barely get through the school day. At night, I’m just too tired to do my homework.
  • I’m so distracted. I can pay attention for five minutes and then my mind wanders.
  • I go to every class, but nothing sinks in.

Source: Accommodations guide for students with brain injury (opens in a new tab/window)

Multiple effects on learning

Multiple effects on learning

Each brain injury can cause a range of interconnected difficulties related to thinking and processing information.

Research shows that brain injury often harms basic cognitive abilities such as memory, learning, attention and concentration, word finding, and visual perception.

Injury can also harm important academic abilities such as  reading, arithmetic reasoning, vocabulary, writing, and spelling.

Needing more time

Needing more time

When a brain is injured it processes information more slowly.

This can affect participation in group work or following instructions.

Effects may present later

Effects may present later

A characteristic of ABIs is that the effects can be latent.

While most people are symptom-free within two weeks, some can experience problems for months or even years after a minor head injury.

Headway - the brain injury association

Summary

Summary

Brain injury may affect a child or young person’s ability to learn.

Areas affected can include:

  • memory
  • attention and concentration
  • speed of thinking
  • problem solving
  • comprehension
  • organisation and planning skills
  • visual and/or auditory processing skills.

Source: Cognition: Attention, concentration & memory (opens in a new tab/window)

Useful resources

Useful resources

Cognition Attention concentration memory

Cognition: Attention, concentration & memory

Read time: 4 min

Publisher: Brain Injury NZ

Download PDF

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Understand impacts on learning and wellbeing”:

Return to the guide “Supporting learners with acquired brain injury”

Guide to Index of the guide: Acquired brain injury and learning

Top