Answered Questions: Monthly News for the Disability Community

Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned below is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. With the exception of the NIDILRR Projects and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked. This month’s issue is on acquired brain injuries (ABI); what are some of the causes; what technology, research, and rehabilitation are available; and what avenues, such as employment and education, are available after these injuries.

Definition of Acquired Brain Injury:

What is an acquired brain injury? (Federación Española de Daño Cerebral y la Associació – Fundació Dany Cerebral Adquirit)
These articles from the Federación Española de Daño Cerebral (FEDACE) and the Asociació – Fundaació Dany Cerebral Adquirit (FEVADACE) describe acquired brain injury (ABI) as a subtle injury to the brain of people without any type of brain damage prior to the injury that produces diverse physical, psychiatric, and sensory consequences. Both articles go on to describe the most common causes of ABI. These causes include head trauma, strokes (cerebrovascular accidents and transient ischemic attacks), brain tumors, brain infections, anoxic or hypoxic brain injuries, smoke inhalation, or drug overdose. The articles from FEDACE ends with links to the classification of these consequences. The article from FEVADACE includes information about the different phases after an ABI and the interdisciplinary team needed for treatment.

NIDILRR Projects:

The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) has funded over 240 research projects on brain injuries. Of those projects, over 40 of them are currently funded and leading the way in brain injury research. The brain injury model systems are projects funded by NIDILRR that research specific areas of brain injury, disseminate that information through various means, and provide comprehensive systems of care.  They also collaborate with the National Data and Statistical Center for the TBI Model Systems, which provides innovative technologies, training, and resources to the model systems, and the Model System Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC) which shares the research of all the model systems with all potential audiences in everyday language, including providing information sheets in Spanish.


The effectiveness of neuropsychological rehabilitation in patients with acquired brain injury: Rationale and methodological difficulties in the research (Rehabilitación)
This research article discusses how neuropsychological rehabilitation arose from traditional rehabilitation models which addressed the motor and linguistic problems of people with ABI and how it is an intervention centered on the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional changes that are a result of ABI. This article discusses the ethical and methodological limitations present in clinical research and the new lines of research was emerging at the time this article was published. These new lines of research were concerned with the methodological design of studies, inclusion of the principal variables being analyzed, and the objective assessment of the quality of services rendered.


A Virtual Reality System for Cognitive Rehabilitation (Servicio de NeuroRehabilitación de Hospitales Nisa)
Using a touch screen, patients can work on an individual or group basis to rehabilitate cognitive deficits received during an ABI through the use of a virtual reality (VR) system. This system uses a battery of exercises whose difficulty can be adjusted to help the person with ABI. This education model includes a training program to help people with ABI learn to cross the street safely. There is a video that demonstrates how the technology works.


Acquired Brain Injury: A Guide for Physical and Sport Activities (Ministrio de Sanidad, Política Social e Igualdad del Gobierno de España; IMSERSO)
This four part guide from the Spanish Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality and IMSERSO provides information for physical, occupational, and recreational therapists on physical activities and sports for people with ABI. The guide starts with general information, including how to use the guide and the benefits of physical activity. Part II of the guide discusses an analysis and classification of physical activities and sports for people with ABI. Part III discusses methodologies and resources that include facilities, materials, and human resources. Finally, Part IV is the practical portion of the guide and includes different activities adapted for people with ABI, workshops, interesting ideas, and two bibliographies.


Virtual Reality System to Improve Awareness of Acquired Brain Injury – Stairway to Awareness (Servicio de NeuroRehabilitación de los Hospitales NISA)
Stairway to Awareness is a virtual reality (VR) program that utilizes a touch screen to improve a person’s awareness of ABI and their social abilities in a fun and motivating environment. This VR program helps people have an adequate understanding of their deficits and to realize a realistic plan for the future. The article includes a video that demonstrates how the program works.


Early vocational rehabilitation after acquired brain injury: A structured and interdisciplinary approach (J70284) (In English)
This article from the NARIC collection describes the Early Vocational Rehabilitation (EVR) protocol as an interdisciplinary approach where specific vocational rehabilitation (VR) elements are integrated within the standard rehabilitation program. The development of the EVR protocol was expert-based and consists of four stages. It recommends a context analysis for each new context in which the EVR is implemented.


  • Acquired Brain Injury Program from the Shepherd Center – USA – This program provides intensive care for people with ABI while helping them reenter their communities. It also provides daily, residential, and vocational program along with supports for daily living.
  • Brain Injury Federation of Spain (FEDACE) – Spain – FEDACE provides information to families, creates awareness and provides information on prevention, promotes personal autonomy, and training. FEDACE also provides information to the general public through publications and web resources and, collaborates with other organizations.
  • Acquired Brain Injury: A Practical Guide for Families – Spain – This practical guide created by three investigators in association with Hospitales NISA provides information to families in a simple format. The information in this guide is divided not only by area (physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc.), but also by group depending on the state of the patient.

Further Research:

Acquired brain injury and inclusion

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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