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SLOWED RESPONSES

Your family member' s ability to respond or react may be a great deal slower because of the TBI. There are two primary reasons for the slowed response: (1) damage to motor strip results in a generalized slowing of the physical response, and (2) responses that were automatic before the injury no longer are. Your family member needs more time to process, integrate, and respond than he did before the TBI.

The overall effects of slowed response for your family member will be (1) taking longer to perform most activities, which can cause significant problems in a job situation, and (2) taking too long to act in emergency situations.

Examples

The following are indications of slowed responses that you may observe:

1. It takes your family member longer than usual to coordinate two-handed activities with household objects (i.e., opening cans, opening packages, making coffee).

2. You are concerned about your family member' s driving ability. No one has said he should not drive. However, you think it takes him too long to react to light changes. You are afraid of what might happen if a car suddenly stopped in front of him and he had to apply the brakes quickly.

3. Your family member is not doing well at work. He has not been able to complete his share of the workload. To do so, he would have to stay later; however, his employer does not want to pay overtime.

4. In social situations, your family member may not be as quick or witty as he once was. By the time he processes the information, the chance for the joke has probably already passed.

Management Techniques

1. Your family member's response time will decrease as he recovers. Many of the early difficulties are not permanent. In the meantime, give him the time he needs to complete household tasks. Task completion is more important than a quick response.

2. If you are concerned about your family member' s driving ability, you probably have cause to be. Refer him to a rehabilitation center for a driver evaluation. During this evaluation, he should participate in both a clinical and behind-the-wheel evaluation.

3. Your family member may have difficulty in a job setting that measures performance by the quantity of work produced. The rehabilitation center should work with the employer to ease your family member back into his job. Support this effort. If you do not have the resources for the rehabilitation setting or another agency (such as state vocational rehabilitation) to interface with the employer, you may need to educate your family member yourself.

4. Although your family member may not be as witty as he once was, do not avoid social situations. If he enjoys old friends, see them as often as possible.