Director, C.A.M.O. - Challenge America
Sarah Williams Volf is a native of Wales and came to Challenge Aspen in 2001. After serving as the Recreation, Educational Cultural REC Programs Director for a number of years, Sarah now spearheads the newest division of…
What is the best way to communicate with someone with a Traumatic Brain Injury or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Posted in Post-Traumatic ... by Sarah Williams Volf on Dec 04, 2009
Not everyone has experience of communicating with people with disabilities. Please remember that appropriate etiquette is based primarily upon consideration and respect.

Below are some general suggestions for communication and things to keep in mind when interacting with those with combat related injuries such a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

It is important to relax and treat the individual with dignity and respect. Be sure to listen to the individual and treat adults as adults. Do not be afraid to ask questions when you cannot understand or when you are unsure of what to do.

Communicating with people with TBI
    Be prepared to repeat what you say as some people may have short term memory deficits.
    Be patient, and supportive. Take the time to understand the individual; and be sure thy understand you.
    Try to avoid interrupting the person.
    If you are in a busy public place consider moving to a quieter location as some people with TBI may have difficulty concentrating and focusing.
    Focus on short term goals.

Communicating with people with PTSD
    Try to minimize high pressure situations.
    Be patient and avoid interrupting the person.
    Find out what makes the person most comfortable.

       Send to a Friend     Share This

CONDITIONS AND COMMUNITIES: Brain Injury  •  Military Families  •  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)  •  Veterans  •  War & Terrorism  •  War in Iraq
TAGS: Therapies

TOTAL COMMENTS: 6 - View All Comments »

Add a Comment
Displaying comments 6-1 of 6
I find it odd that you would combine TBI & PTSD together as they are quite different, especially their causes & therefore might probably be treated differently as well.

And, aren't the communication suggestions pretty much common sense communication skills? And shouldn't we treat EVERYONE with consideration, dignity and respect?
By MyTrueColors  Dec 14, 2009
"Disabled" is a word that is better left for the legalities of things, Social Security, etc.

Awareness of PTSD is resurfacing again everywhere. It hasn't been this talked about since the post Vietnam era. As for TBI, people with TBI are all around us. Awareness of this should also be encouraged.

We do our soldiers a disservice by singling them out as the only ones who suffer either of these problems. The last thing we want to happen is for our soldiers to come home and get stigmatized because they have either one, or both, of these problems, and for people to end up being afraid of them.

It is very unfortunate that we have to have wars and soldiers coming home suffering from these problems in large numbers before the general public becomes aware of these problems. Most people are ignorant and intolerant of anything they don't understand that exists outside their small little sheltered worlds.
By nightbyrd  Dec 11, 2009
i agree with seekingstrength19's comment. i have ptsd from being assaulted a few times and there's a good chance i had it from my childhood too, but i can't remember. although at times i feel like i'm handicapped because of it, i know i'm not disabled because of it. and to imgoodenough, i have a close friend who has ptsd from combat and mine is not from combat. there are a lot of similarities. but there's different triggers. the thing to remember is ptsd is different for everyone.
By caricature19  Dec 06, 2009
Very interesting, but I'm still wondering if there are any differences between combat related ptsd or abuse related ptsd?
By Imgoodenough  Dec 05, 2009
PTSD and TBI are not neccessarily just "combat" related. I have both PTSD and a mTBI brought on my a MVC. I believe I recall another article you wrote about PTSD and it completely focused on combat vets. There are so many of us who struggle with PTSD who are not combat vets, do not forget about us. I also take offense that you use the label "people with disabilities". I do not feel as if I am a disabled person. Please do not generalize. I do agree with your statement: "remember that appropriate etiquette is based primarily upon consideration and respect". I believe this holds true for all people.
By RaeFx  Dec 05, 2009
You've listed PTSD as an "area of expertise" but refer to individuals with PTSD as "people with disabilities?" You've been in practice for 8 years? PTSD is an anxiety disorder ... not a disability. Are you confusing those recently back from war, who have also experienced a physical injury in the same light as those with PTSD? As I'm sure you're well aware, a TBI and PTSD are two different things. A soldier could have one, the other, or both. Bottom line, I have PTSD and I object to being labeled "disabled." Growing up in a military family, I'm pretty sure our fighting men and women (regardless of their affliction) don't appreciate the label either. One thing I do agree with you on is that, "appropriate etiquette is based primarily upon consideration and respect." Please promote respect and refer to those suffering with PTSD as "individuals" or, in the case of our military men & women, "heroes." Thank you.
By SeekingStrength19  Dec 05, 2009
Got a Question?
My Fans
Brain Injury
(2,342 Discussion Topics)
Military Families
(1,341 Discussion Topics)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
(17,212 Discussion Topics)
(1,144 Discussion Topics)
War & Terrorism
(12,000 Discussion Topics)
War in Iraq
(627 Discussion Topics)