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Health Services > Acquired Brain Injury Outreach Service (ABIOS)

What is ABI?

The term Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is used to describe all types of brain injury that occur after birth. The brain can be injured as a result of:
  • traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • stroke
  • brain tumour
  • poisoning
  • infection and disease
  • near drowning or other anoxic episodes
  • alcohol and drug abuse
           ct scan of a persons brain

Changes After ABI

Changes as a result of an acquired brain injury can include:

Recovery after brain injury differs from person to person because of the variations in where the brain is injured and extent of the brain injury. Impairments can be either temporary or permanent, and can cause either specific or more widespread disability. Individuals may also find that the nature of their problems may vary over time.

In the longer term most people with ABI report changes in learning, thinking and behaviour while only 25% of people with a severe ABI will experience ongoing physical disabilities. These changes in learning, thinking and behaviour are hard for other people to recognise. People who do not understand the difficulties associated with acquired brain injury may believe the person is lazy or being difficult.

Any changes, from mild to severe, require a period of adjustment, both physically and emotionally. Adjustment to these changes will not only affect the person who has had the brain injury but also the family, friends and carers who are supporting the person

Is ABI the Same as Intellectual Disability?

Although there may be some similarities between intellectual disability and ABI it is not the same. ABI is recognised as a discreet disability under our health and welfare system. People with ABI usually retain their intellectual abilities but have difficulty controlling, coordinating and communicating their thoughts and actions. People with ABI can experience significant recovery and many problems improve with time. Changes after ABI are different and so treatment  and services used often differ from that used for people with intellectual disability.

For further information on Intellectual Disability please visit the Activ Parent Portal:

How Common is ABI?

´╗┐Because there are many different definitions of brain injury, it is difficult to precisely define the numbers of people with brain injury who will acquire a brain injury in any year (incidence) or the cumulative numbers of people who live with the effects of brain injury at any one time (prevalence)

However using the census and other sources here are a few statistics of interest.

Also see the summary from:

ABI Resources

´╗┐ For further fact sheets on Acquired Brain Injury also go to:

The Brain Injury Australia website
The Synapse website (formerly the Brain Injury Association of Queensland)

For further resources on Acquired Brain Injury go go


Contact ABIOS

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Last Updated: 12 September 2013
Last Reviewed: 12 September 2013