Speed of Processing

Many people with a TBI notice that their thinking and processing of information is much slower than it used to be. This condition usually improves over time but can be frustrating in today’s fast-paced world.

What might you see?

  • Taking longer to answer questions
  • Taking longer to understand things that were easily understood before
  • Taking a long time to react and respond

How can you help?

  • Slow down conversations and verbal instructions, and simplify information presented to your family member. Keep it short and simple.
  • Break complex tasks and activities down into smaller steps. Getting dressed, for example, can be broken down into gathering the clothes and sequencing the activity of getting dressed correctly (such as putting pants on before shoes).
  • Allow extra time for the service member or veteran to respond to questions and to comprehend and learn new information.
  • Avoid situations that are over-stimulating (for example, noise or crowds).
  • Suggest a different activity or topic of conversation to help the person remain on task.
  • Encourage the service member or veteran to ask others to slow down and repeat information for them. This will help others understand how they can communicate more clearly and be accommodating to the person with a TBI.