Quick Facts

  • It is common for people with a brain injury to have a slower processing speed and understanding information
  • New learning refers to the ability to effectively process new cognitive tasks

What does it
look like?

  • Struggle with new learning despite a prior history of ability
  • Take longer to grasp what others are saying
  • Take longer to answer questions
  • Have trouble reading and understanding written information
  • Have trouble following directions, TV shows, and movies
  • Take longer to react and respond, which can impact activities like driving

Possible Causes and Complications

Possible causes:

  • Damage to the frontal lobe or other parts of the brain
  • Fatigue/sleep issues
  • Overstimulation

Possible complications:

  • May have trouble in group activities or conversations (i.e. unable to keep up)
  • Reduced independence (i.e. loss of driver’s license or inability to read)
  • Difficulty at work or school learning new tasks or information

What can we do?

  • Slow down and simplify information (ask others to do so as well)
  • Never assume that new learning has been retained
  • Teach new skills in the place and context where they will be used
  • Break complex tasks down into smaller steps
  • Reduce distractions and avoid environments that are overstimulating
  • Allow more time to think about the information, respond to questions, and to practice the information being learned
  • Encourage the individual to:
    • Ask others to repeat themselves
    • Re-read information and take notes
    • Place as much attention as possible on the task or information

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to replace advice from a medical doctor. Consult a health care provider regarding specific medical concerns or treatment.