How To Reduce or Eliminate Distractions When You Have an Acquired Brain Injury

Keep it quiet;

Go to an area with the lowest level of background noise possible,in group situations have the fewest amount of people possible in a group situation,ask people to take it in turns talking. Close the door if possible in a busy area

Background music on low;

Use the background music on low using headphones to reduce,blockout intermittent noise,people on the telephone or office conversations etc.

Ear plugs/ noise counceling headphones;

Ear plugs or ear protectors can be brought in a hardware store or online. You can use them to block out any distracting noise. You can buy good quality headsets or noise counceling headphones they can be extremely beneficial at reducing or blocking out noise without music playing. People may interrupt you less if you have headphones on/in.

Use a filter;

After an acquired brain injury some people develop tinnitus. You can get ear filters/hearing aids themselves are provided by audiologists. The type you will require will depend on your hearing test results to see what discrimination (the ability to hear the spoken words in the mist of background noise) “by filling out some of the background noise you can hear better even though you are hearing less.”


Eliminate clutter in your work space as clutter is very distracting for me mind as well as making it harder to find documents etc.set up your work space to minimise distractions these distractions include windows,the fridge,busy walkways at home or at the office. Face your desk to the wall instead of a window or hallway.

Redirecting your focus:

Practice redirecting your focus to get back on task if you find your mind wondering through practice it can be improved. Talking to your self saying “stay focused ” this will help in many everyday situations.


  1. Turn on the answering machine
  2. Don’t answer your phone when trying to get work done.
  • Door sign:
  • Put a do not disturb sign on your door let your colleagues,friends and family know what the sign means.
  • Go invisible:
  • If your working on the internet and you are signed up for instant messaging or voice over internet services,put a sign that you are unavailable or pick the invisible option.
  • Over stimulating environments:
  • Avoid overstimulating environments if you struggle with filtering issues an inability to filter out exstrenuous auditory or visual stimulus the best way to avoid this don’t go to over stimulating environments consider having dinner in a small quiet Resturant rather than a large noisey one.if your friends are planning to go to a bar/pub which is busy invite your friends to come to yours for drinks instead.
  • Basic needs:
  • We all have a hard time paying attention when we are tired,hungry or need to go to the bathroom even without a brain injury.
  • Set a clear goal or objective:
  • Set a clear goal in your mind for what you are doing,preferably written down on a schedule or paper on plain view as a memory jogger as this will help you return to your task after being distracted.
  • Write it down:
  • If you are asked to do something or think of something you need to do/remember either write it on apiece of paper or set reminders in your phone. With any distraction you may not remember the information later if you don’t have it written down.
  • Highlight:
  • When reading information you need to retain use a highlighter to help keep your focus and attention it will also help you keep track of where you got up to if you get distracted or go for a break.
  • Notes:
  • When speaking from your notes use your finger to track where you are on the page and so if you are interrupted with a question you can carry on where you left off. medication may be another alternative.
  • Some information in this blog is taken from the book: The Brain Injury Survival Kit [Paperback] [2008] 1 Ed. Dr. Cheryle Sullivan MD

    View point of Francois from Kaurimbi Expeditions (Namibia) of working with a group of people with acquired brain injuries in a variety of different projects

    I found out about The Silverlining Charity by taking over a company called Kaurimbi Expeditions Every two years we help The Silverlining Charity arrange challenging experiences for all of the Silverliners on the Namibia mission both brain injured and those in support roles doing a variety of projects.

    My hopes were that everyone on the expedition to be able to experience great adventure and achieve the goals of the charities mission. I had no fears before the mission.

    beforehand the kaurimbi team visited certain areas of Namibia to find a suitable location for projects to be carried out this was then extensively planned with the charity to ensure smooth running. Then the fears that were in the back of my mind were quickly overcome after discussions with the charity.

    On this particular trip I enjoyed getting involved more on the medical side and would like to improve my skills and knowledge within this Field.

    I am a lucky man that I have a job that is my sole passion so every moment was spectacularly amazing.

    “Come as a client and leave as friends but I already know half of them.”

    Contact details:

    Kaurimbi Expeditions Tour and Safari operator:

    Cell:+264 812340234

    Cell:+264 812205135


    Facebook: Kaurimbi Expeditions

    Advice for what to do when going shopping when you have an An ABI

    -Plan your weekly menu in advance

    -Write a list of all items you need for your week

    -Pick the day that suits you best for shopping and time that suits you best

    -Make up or buy standard shopping lists that include items that you need on a regular basis this can be adjusted to what you need that week.

    -Do a check of all cupboards,fridge/freezer etc. To see what other items or products you need to restock and how much of each you need.

    -If fatigue or over stimulation is something you struggle with I would recommend getting one or two days worth of any items you need for those days at a time and shop more frequently

    -Get someone else to do the shopping on your behalf if shopping in store is significantly challenging for you

    -Do your shopping online and collect from store most large chain stores offers click and collect service

    -Order your shopping online and get it delivered to you most chain stores provide this service

    -You could arrange your shopping list by the layout of isles in your chosen supermarket

    -When you are running low or out of stock on an item you need put it straight on to your shopping list so don’t forget to buy it when you next go shopping


    Ways to remember shopping bags:

    -Leave them in your car

    -Have a hook or place near the door to store them so you see them on way out

    -Reminder on your phone

    -write it in diary/on calendar if you have one

    -Reminder note on the side/fridge

    -Keep some in your bag all the time

    The Perspective From My Pilates Teacher Rachel Of Teaching Someone With Brain Injury With No Prior Experience In The Field

    When Rachel first started teaching me she felt confident in the challenge that she would be able to improve my co-ordination and movement in space and time. Rachel is a professional dancer as well as being a qualified dance and pilates teacher and having always TAUGHT dancers I was the first person she has trained without a dance background let alone a neurological disability.

    During the first session she quickly understood what a challenge it was going to be. At this stage Rachel was seven months pregnant,which made it nearly impossible for her to demonstrate all the exercises.This made learning more of a challenge as I learn best visually,therefore I had to try to understand how to do exercises through verbal communication this made progress very slow. As the sessions passed Rachel realised that in my case it was more important to make me move without pain, as I have pre-existing shoulder and back injuries,than to focus on perfect form and stability. We found making the exercises more challenging for example by putting a ball under my pelvis to decrease stability, which actually had a greater impact in helping me to understand and feel which muscles I needed/need to use.

    As Rachel went on maternity leave there had been small improvements but she felt quite disheartened as she couldn’t see much progress. Over Rachel’s maternity leave me and my multi disciplinary team decided that it would be more beneficial to do two sessions a week when she returned. Since she has returned and we have been doing two sessions a week this combined with Rachel now being able to demonstrate and train with me,since we have been doing two sessions a week we have noticed a greater improvement in my ability to perform the exercises as well as introducing yoga inspired flows and ballet into our sessions.

    Through our hard work we have learnt that the key elements to training with a neurological disorder are using a variety of equipment for feedback,visual aids,tactile cues and challenging the body with harder exercises to increase the understanding of the muscles that need to be used. The equipment we use includes tennis balls in the hands,thera bands,toning circle,roller and a soft ball. Through resistance and a decrease in stability these all help to understand where my body is in space therefore helping me to co-ordinate my body better.

    I’m really enjoying Pilates now and would recommend it to everyoneas it has been so beneficial for me at strengthening my core. Where my core is stronger now it has ment I’m a lot more stable doing every day tasks as well as in the gym where I have noticed the biggest difference especially when weight training. Pilates has also improved my back a little so causes me less pain.

    “What started being my biggest teaching challenge has turned into my most rewarding. Seeing Hannah achieve exercises w thought impossible makes me feel so proud.” Quote by Rachel Pilates Teacher

    Journey Planning And What To Do When You Get Lost

    When you are journey Planning make sure you know the address,closest station, how you are getting there,a postcode and if need someone with you if so who.

    -Have all information next to you for location
    -Are you going by car or public transport
    -To plan route use:
    *Google maps
    *National rail app/website journey planner
    *Tube map app journey planner
    *waze app (if driving)

    -Check how long journey will Take before the day so you know what time to leave home/be on train etc to make it to destination on time
    -If travelling with someone make sure you organise this in advance and know where you are meeting.

    Once you have planned your route:
    *Make sure you have everything you need for your journey
    *Bring a book or music etc. If a long journey to occupy yourself
    -print off route or take picture on your phone so can check on route if you need to.
    -let someone else know your route in case you get lost or something happens to you on route

    If You Find Yourself Lost Or Unsure On Journey:
    – Ask people nearby if they can help eg. Does this train stop at Battle station?
    -Use google maps to get you to location by following the blue line if go off blue line you have gone the wrong way.
    -use landmarks,shops nearby that you pass to ensure going right way if been to location before
    -Go into a shop,train station or business and ask for directions
    – call person who you gave route to get them to help directing you

    Overall the best thing to do when learning routes take it one small step at a time and work out what helps you best in route planning and give people an idea of times you should arrive at your destination and what time you should be home and route you will take especially if lack of signal or no signal on phone to be able to communicate so people don’t worry about you.

    I hope this helps also rembemer when you use journey Planning can set it for your day of travel.

    Types Of Fitness I Have Done And The Positive And Negative Effects Of Them And The Challenges Faced Due To The Side Affects Of My ABI

    When I was ten years old I started trampolining and did it for eight years. I really enjoyed this and only left because no one was my age. The challenges I faced when doing this was it took me longer to learn how to correctly do a move,remembering routines took lots of repetition to remember, struggled with staying in the centre of trampoline due to poor spacial awareness and dyspraxia. This was great for fitness.

    After I stopped trampolining at eighteen I joined the gym training 3-4 times a week 1-2 of these sessions was with a personal trainer. At the gym I enjoyed using all cardio equipment especially the bike and rowing machines I also enjoyed using the weight machines which I mainly did with a PT or when someone else was there to spot me as due to my challenges with coordination I struggle to bring the machine down smoothly with both arms working to come down simultaneously also I sometimes don’t position myself correctly eg. My hands are to far apart or too close together so movement would be incorrect and work the wrong muscles which could potentially have caused injury. I enjoyed training at the gym as it was social,gets me out of the house, is a great stress relieve,made me feel healthier and better about myself! I did this for six years.

    I then wanted to take up martial arts at heartfordshire martial arts in Barnet. This was because I had applied for a voluntary course as a special constable in the Police and thought it would be beneficial to that. I didn’t get the role but still continued as I enjoyed it so much. I did MMA, Thai Boxing, Brazilian Ju-Jitsu and Jeet Kune Do. I did this for two years and i loved it as I made friends and got a great workout and learned self defence skills at the same time. Even though the first night I went in it was a little intimidating, as I was the only girl in all classes for the first 6-9 months, all the guys were really friendly and welcoming and were great at taking things slowly and teaching me kicks, combinations on passes, blocks escaping choke holds etc.
    I left as due to me not holding the pads firm enough I damaged muscles in my shoulders which is intermittently painful I also have minor back problems and when I did MMA and Brazilian Ju-jitsu my hip got knocked out regularly which cases back pain so I decided it was better to stop as I was struggling to complete classes due to pain caused by injuries.

    I then went back to training at the gym and train four times a week one session with a PT with the goal to lose another 9-12 pounds to my at my ideal weight. I have also done a mixture of classes which were enjoyable and a good variety of classes are on daily which I recommend doing if you don’t like training by yourself particularly as trainers are very motivating! I mainly do HITT training now when I’m training myself which is great for wight loss and getting the heart rate up. Make sure you have warmed up before doing this!!!

    The best machines to use for this type of training are bike, rowing machine and the treadmill. To do this training on the machines you need to for example:30 sec cycling as fast as you can on a challenging gradient for you then go slowly for 40 sec and do this for min of 5 minutes and gradually build up to longer period.

    I struggle with free weights and weight machines still due to my co-ordination and spacial awareness but I am working on improving this with an occupational therapist. I have also recently taken up Pilates and I find this very beneficial and has improved my core stability and strengthenened my back. This is enjoyable and very beneficial and I would recommend it to anyone with back problems. I currently do two sessions at home with a Pilates instructor. The benefits of this I find are it can be catered to your own abilities, the Teacher can explain things slowly if required or repeat instructions verbally or demonstrate to you if you don’t quite get it.

    In general exercise is beneficial for everyone for health, wellbeing and general fitness. Exercise for people with acquired brain injuries can be done as on going rehabilitation after injury. Exercise can increase serotonin levels which are the “happy” hormones and this may be especially beneficial for those who suffer from depression as it may improve the chance of having more positive days than negative days!!

    Finding Love With An Acquired Brain Injury

    I have been looking for someone to love and someone to love me since I was 18 it took me nine years I went on half a dozen online dating agencies such as Match, Uniform Dating, Plenty Of Fish and several more. I met lots of people on these online dating sites I met a few who were unaccepting of people with learning difficulties and brain injury and others who were more open minded that I spent time messaging some who turned out to people looking for someone to have a one night stand with those people I blocked automatically as I wasn’t looking for that.
    I also tried speed dating and slow dating events which were fun and sociable but sometimes it was a challenge blocking out the background noise which sometimes made it difficult to concentrate on/hear what the person I was talking to was saying. I also tried a variety of other singles events and meet up group Meetballs dating was one of them and all were nice social events with people of a similar age but some events the majority of people were a lot older than myself but I did meet some nice people there.
    In 2017 I decided to have one final attempt at finding love by using a dating agency called flame introductions which I heard of on the tv program The Undateables. Once I contacted the agency and I spoke to a lady called Christine who was one of there agents and a very nice lady and gives the option for someone to attend meeting with you. Christine creates a personal profile for you with your picture on, what you do for work if any, volunteering you may do, music you like, hobbies and interests and what type of person you are eg. family orientated. Christine also listened to what type of person I was looking for and showed me some profiles to look at after that sent a few profiles for a potential match if you want to meet them you let here know you may need to be patient as this took me 6mths to meet someone I clicked with. Me and my Fiancée have now been together for over a year and are currently planning our wedding for next year. he is my soulmate and I couldn’t be without him now as he means the world to me and I love him so much and I wouldn’t have met him if I hadn’t joined Flame introductions and am so grateful to them for helping us find each other. I am looking forward to our life together and all the adventures we will have. I Have Put the Link For FLAME INTRODUCTIONS DATING AGENCY BELLOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO LOOK INTO THEM.