Sometimes I need a brain break. I’m not being lazy. I get physical fatigue as well as a “brain fatigue.” It is sometimes difficult and tiring for my brain to think, process, and organize. Being tired makes it harder to think.

I am not being difficult if I resist social situations sometimes. Crowds, confusion, and loud sounds sometimes overload my brain.

If there is more than one person talking, sometimes I may seem uninterested in the conversation. I’m having trouble following all the different “lines” of discussion. It is exhausting to keep trying to piece it all together. I’m not dumb or rude; my brain is getting overloaded!

If we are talking and I tell you that I need to stop, I need to stop NOW! And it is not because I’m avoiding the subject, it’s just that I need time to process our discussion and “take a break” from all the thinking. Later I will be able to rejoin the conversation and really be present for the subject and for you.

I need help to figure out why a behavior problem happened. “Behavior problems” are often caused by a specific situation and not a mental health issue. I may be frustrated, in pain, overtired or there may be too much confusion or noise for my brain to filter.

Time to work quietly is the best gift you can give me right now. It allows me to work deliberately and at my own pace, allowing me to build pathways in my brain. Rushing, interruptions, and multi-tasking make it hard to think. It’s sometimes easier to focus when it’s quiet.

Please listen to me with patience. Try not to interrupt. Allow me to find my words and follow my thoughts. It will help me build my communication skills.

Please have patience with my memory.  Know that not remembering does not mean that I don’t care.

If I seem “stuck” sometimes my brain may be stuck in the processing of information. Coach me, suggest other options or ask what you can do to help may help me figure it out. Taking over and doing it for me will not be constructive and it will make me feel inadequate.
Be a cheerleader. Please help me and encourage all efforts. Please don’t be negative or critical. I am doing the best I can.

My idea for brain-friendly learning:


Adapted by Liz-e Patton for brain-friendly teaching;

Excerpts from:
Lost & Found: A Survivor's Guide for Reconstructing Life After a Brain Injury

by Barbara J. Webster. © 20ll