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Acquired brain injury (ABI) health support for children and young people

Information on how education and care services provide proactive and reactive management for children and young people with acquired brain injury.

Acquired brain injury (ABI) refers to any damage to the brain that occurs after birth. The damage can be caused by an accident or trauma, stroke, infections, alcohol or drug abuse and some diseases.

ABI can result in deterioration in cognitive, physical, emotional or independent functioning. Immediate symptoms of brain injury may include loss of consciousness, dizziness, drowsiness, vomiting, headache, nausea, confusion or other cognitive problems. In the longer term difficulty with concentration and short-term memory, altered sleep patterns, a change in personality, depression, irritability, and other emotional and behavioural problems may become evident. Some people may have seizures as a result of brain injuries.

ABI is not the same as intellectual disability, although severe brain injury can result in an intellectual disability. 

Children and young people with mild to moderate ABI often retain their full intellectual abilities but may experience difficulties with controlling, coordinating or communicating their thoughts and actions.  

Health support for acquired brain injury

The Acquired brain injury in education and care procedure (under development) will describe how to support children and young people with acquired brain injury.

Care plan

A non-specific care plan HSP110 (DOC 167KB) can be completed by a health professional in consultation with parents or legal guardians for children requiring support for ABI in education and care services.  

Health support agreement

Where a child or young person has been identified to have ABI a health support agreement HSP120 (DOC 243KB) and safety and risk management plan HSP121 (DOC 147KB) should be completed. These are completed by the parent and education or care service to document specific risk minimisation strategies, individualised management and treatment for the child in the context of the education or care service. 

The Health Support Agreement should clearly identify cultural, spiritual and language needs.

The guide to planning health support – HSP125 can assist in the development of the health support agreement by prompting through a series of questions and considerations. 

Medication agreement

Where medication is prescribed for ABI and is required to be administered  during attendance at an education or care service a medication agreement HSP151 (DOC 142KB) must be completed by the treating health professional.

First aid

All education and care staff are required to provide first aid measures following any care plan or support agreement and contacting emergency services if required.

Individual first aid plan

An individual first aid plan HSP124 (DOC 167KB) is completed by the health professional where the first aid response is NOT the standard first aid response for that health condition.

Training and education

The Women’s and Children’s Hospital Child and Adolescent Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service (CABIRS) provides education and advice for children and young people who have experienced ABI. The Child and Adolescent Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service can be contacted on (08) 8161 7367.

Brain Injury SA provides tailored training services to equip staff with the skills, strategies and knowledge to support children with ABI. The ABI staff training services brochure provides further information on the training service. To enquire about booking a training session with Brain Injury SA complete the online enquiry form


Care plans

Health care plans

Health support agreement

Medication agreements

First aid plan

CABIRS fact sheets


Disability and Complex Needs Team

Phone: 8226 0515
Email: education.health [at] sa.gov.au