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Poor Motivation

Physical Communication Cognitive Behavioural / Emotional

Motivation is a person’s reason for doing something and an enthusiastic person is said to be well motivated. After a brain injury some people do not feel enthusiastic about anything. They may lack any drive and be unable to initiate anything of their own accord. They may not want to do anything and may not want to leave the house. They may ‘channel surf’ in front of the television, or wander about aimlessly. Other people may appear to want to undertake a particular activity but be unable to get beyond an inability to plan and initiate the activity. Difficulties with an ability to initiate or start activity, and the ability to keep going to finish an activity or task is called adynamia.

Poor motivation can be very frustrating for friends and family and can lead to social isolation for the person suffering the brain injury. People may think that the poor motivation is due to ‘laziness’ rather than due to the effects of the brain injury.

Introducing a structured routine is a good way try to get the person to participate in, and complete activities and tasks. A structured routine decreases demand on memory and thinking skills. Checklists and prompts, for example on a mobile telephone, may assist as well as breaking down tasks into smaller steps that are easier to achieve. In more serious cases one to one support can help to ensure the person maintains focus and motivation to complete tasks.

A person is more likely to have motivation to complete a task if it is something they enjoy doing. Try to find activities that will appeal to the person with the brain injury that may be in relation to previous hobbies or something new they may want to try. Conversely, it may not be a good idea to try to get someone to do something they did not enjoy or want to do before the brain injury.

Consider alternating some less enjoyable tasks with more enjoyable tasks to maintain motivation. They can be considered as a ‘reward’ for completing the less enjoyable tasks. Offer choices in activities and participation in decision making to ‘engage’ the person in their activities. Knowing the person and their likes and dislikes is key to rediscovering motivation. The more positive and motivated you are, the more likely that the person with the brain injury will also be positive and motivated.


"Pediatric neuro-rehabilitation cannot be delivered in isolation. The needs of the child have to be looked at both holistically and within the context of the family unit. Parents need to be empowered to be parents in post-acute pediatric neuro-rehabilitation following brain injury"
The Children's Trust; United Kingdom
"Our 10 year study proves that family-led home-based neuro-rehab interventions deliver the best outcomes for children and young people"
Lucia Braga; Brazil
"Case management for children and young people post acquired brain injury is 'pivotal' to successful outcomes and must be local"
Deborah Andrews; New Zealand
"Rehabilitation interventions can lead to positive outcomes for children and their families if delivered in the familiar home environment and applied to everyday situations"
Cerebra; United Kingdom
"Brain development is complex and prolonged. Brain plasticity is influenced by a range of factors. Plasticity provides a base for neuro-rehab therapies and treatment"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada
"Healthy teens are better at identifying strategies to deal with barriers. KIDS WITH ABI'S CAN'T!"
Shari Wade; USA
"We need to harness the power of brain plasticity for treating children and young people with brain injury. Stressful experiences alter brain development of a child, especially at the key ages of 0-3 and at ages 10-16"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada
"Positive and coordinated neuro-rehab interventions for children and young people is prove to bring health improvements; improve independence; a decline in the need for sheltered living; decreases vulnerability; decreases drop-out rates in schools; decreases youth offending"
Eric Hermans; Netherlands
"We are medical practitioners. The real experts are the parents. Over the last 35 years they have taught me everything I know"
Lucia Braga; Brazil
"Families and professionals spend time focusing on the negative aspects of ABI. Families need to be properly supported as 'resilience' is key to delivering successful outcomes for children and young people."
Roberta De Pompeii; USA

OUR MISSION: To work to remove (health) inequalities for children & young people affected by acquired brain injury; and provide effective support to their families that makes a real difference.

Council for Disabled Children Lottery Funded