On With Life Supports for Parents/Carers of Children with an Acquired Brain Injury


Welcome to our On With Life programme, which provides supports for Parents and/or Carers of Children with an Acquired Brain Injury


Support for parents/carers of a child with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is currently limited in Ireland. We are grateful for the funding received from RTÉ Toy Show Appeal, The Community Foundation for Ireland, and the public, which has helped this important programme get off the ground.

Our Ambition

Our ambition is to establish a national support network aiming to improve the wellbeing of children and their families with an acquired brain injury through parental and carer peer-support with relevant and timely educational and information resources.

The programme complements our On With Life programme which supports family/carers of adults with an acquired brain injury. We have learnt through our experience with carers of adults and by staying engaged with evidence-based research that peer group support with relevant and timely information and education can improve the wellbeing of the whole family, enabling improved outcomes for the child with an acquired brain injury.

We’re here for you 

 At Acquired Brain Injury Ireland we believe in a person-centred approach. This means we pay attention to the needs of Parents/Carers. We have learned a lot about what helps people carry on in this valuable role and how Parents/Carers need support too in managing this change in their lives. We are here to share this information with you to help you understand more about brain injury and the new life you are currently living. 

Who do we support

  • Parents/Carers
  • Siblings
  • Relatives
  • Professionals working with children or young people with an acquired brain injury.

Why do people need support?

Living with and caring for a child or a young person with a brain injury is a life-changing event. Our On With Life Support Group for Parents/Carers of Children with an Acquired Brain Injury allows family members to share information and experiences, and support each other in a safe non-judgemental environment. 

If you are newly impacted as a family by an acquired brain injury, you will benefit from hearing from families with more lived experience as they share information and talk about the coping skills they used to support themselves through this change in their lives. Our support groups are facilitated by staff members to ensure that groups are run to the highest standards. 

We take a proactive approach to reduce stress, anxiety and caregiver burden for Parents/Carers caring for their child/young person with a brain injury.  

Through support groups, Parents/Carers of children/young people experience a sense of community, empowerment, improved mental well-being and reduced feelings of social isolation.  

Our support groups provide a safe space where participants can express emotion, acknowledge feelings or question thoughts and beliefs. We help people focus on helpful actions they can take to support themselves and their family. 

We understand

A brain injury is sudden, devastating, life-changing, and terrifying for both a child and their parent.  Acquired brain injury affects the entire family – the injured child, parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents and other relatives. 

We know that caring for a child/young person with a brain injury can be difficult without any help or support. Parents whose children have an acquired brain injury experience a range of emotions. Coming to terms with these new circumstances places great strain on parents and can take time, and the feelings people experience are best understood as a process.  

Many family members and friends are thrust into the role of carer without warning. In addition, many of you may also be looking out for the health and well-being of other family members. Or you may have a job outside the home. Juggling all these challenges is not easy. We’re here to help you get ‘On With Life’.

What is an Acquired Brain Injury?  

An Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is an injury that has occurred after birth, in childhood or adulthood. 

The ‘acquired’ part means simply that the child wasn’t born with their injury – it is the result of an accident or illness that has happened later. 

Acquired brain injury may be the result of: 

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – the result of an impact to the head. Examples might be a car accident or a fall. 
  • Non-traumatic brain injury – the result of something which happens inside your brain. Examples might be a bleed, a stroke or a brain tumour.

 Each child is as unique in the way they respond to a brain injury as they are in every other aspect of their lives. And just as every brain is different, the way each brain is affected by an injury is different. 

 Children/young people with an acquired brain injury can experience difficulties with: 

  • Communication, expression and understanding 
  • Fatigue 
  • Learning new things and processing information 
  • Memory and reasoning 
    Depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out and social inappropriateness 

How do we provide support?

Support Groups for Parents/Carers 

Our online support network will give you an opportunity to share the reality of living with a child/young person with an acquired brain injury in the family, in a confidential, safe place. 

Education and Training for Parents/Carers 

We aim to cover a range of topics to educate and support Parents/Carers as they cope with the challenges of brain injury and we will develop a cohort of expert advice and educators to help us on this journey. 

Information for Parents/Carers 

We will provide you with information and steps to take to keep yourself healthy physically and emotionally. We will provide practical tips, strategies, and resources for dealing with identified concerns.

Information and Training workshops for Professionals 

We will coordinate and provide training workshops to help educate staff in education, health and social care so they can provide the best supports possible to your child/young person. 

Who can come along to the On With Life workshops? 

On With Life is open to Parents or Carers of a child or young people living with an acquired brain injury. By joining our On With Life support group and network this may be your first introduction to Acquired Brain Injury Ireland. And you are all welcome!  At any time, you can contact our On With Life coordinator Dolores Gallagher, if you wish to discuss coming to the group or to see if it’s right for you. 

 Our ambition is to establish National online groups and Education offerings, thanks to funding approved by Late Late Toy show and The Community Foundation of Ireland. 

How do I find out more?

Get in touch with our On With Life for parents/carers of Children Support Network coordinator:

Email Dolores Gallagher at dgallagher@abiireland.ie  

We are grateful for the funding received from RTÉ Toy Show Appeal and The Community Foundation for Ireland in support of this Project

Quotes from families and friends living with an adult with acquired brain injury in the family

“I no longer feel I’m left in the dark about brain injury thanks to support from Acquired Brain Injury Ireland”

“I need to learn the coping skills required to deal with the daily trials of supporting my husband”

“I’m not usually good at asking for help. Knowing where to turn makes it easier”

“Acquired Brain Injury Ireland has supported me and my family with practical information and strategies in a caring and thoughtful manner”

“I feel more like a nurse than a partner”

“Getting a better understanding of what a person goes through after acquiring a brain injury is important so I can show more understanding”