Having better conversations after brain injury: The Social Brain Toolkit project

It is often hard for people with a brain injury to communicate with family members, friends, or the professionals who support them.

These “communication partners” may also struggle to know how to help the conversation go more smoothly.

As a result, people with a brain injury may feel isolated, but it can be challenging to use tools such as social media to connect with others.

The aim of the Social Brain Toolkit project is to develop online resources to support people with brain injury to have more positive interactions, whether face-to-face or online.

We are developing three key tools which will all be available by the end of the project:

Convers-ABI-lity: an online platform for people with brain injury and their communication partners to complete a conversation skills training program together, supported by a speech pathologist

Interact-ABI-lity: a short online course for family, friends or professionals about how to communicate with people with a brain injury

Social-ABI-lity: a short online course for people with brain injury about using social media safely and successfully

We are looking for volunteers to try out these new tools and to tell us about their experience in using them.

Photo by Brands&People on Unsplash

We are also planning to develop some videos featuring people with brain injury and their family members which will be included as part of the online resources.

We are interested in people:

  • Sharing their experiences of communication problems after brain injury
  • Giving their tips about how to communicate with someone with a brain injury
  • Showing examples of what a good conversation looks like

We would like to include a range of different types of people with brain injury, including people who use AAC, and people who present with verbose or inappropriate communication.

We are looking for families in the greater Sydney area (including Wollongong, Central Coast, Blue Mountains). Reimbursement will be provided for people’s time and contributions.

People interested in this project can contact Dr Rachael Rietdijk on rachael.rietdijk@sydney.edu.au or 0402 159 516.

The Social Brain Toolkit project was formed out of a collaboration between The University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, Brain Injury Australia and Changineers. The project has been funded to run from November 2019 to May 2022 through the icare foundation’s Quality of Life Fund.

Updated April 2021