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Child Neuropsychology A blog by Dr Jonathan Reed
  • Brain injury and creativity

    I work a lot with children and young people who have suffered a brain injury.  It is one of the most devastating conditions.  Brain injury often results in changes to personality, to memory, to social ability and sometime to physical disability.  It often occurs to normally developing individuals.  Because brain cells do not repair themselves there is no cure and it is a case of living with and adapting to the condition.  I have noticed however that there is one area of functioning that seems to be preserved and often actually enhanced following a brain injury and that is creativity.  Although the brain can not repair itself new neural pathways can develop which I believe can allow new talents to emerge or create a different way of seeing the world.  I have worked with several young people who have gone on to A level and university to do photography or Art despite their disability.   One person I know, Spencer Aston is working as a freelance photographer. He takes photos from a unique perspective in my opinion.  I have come across other individuals who have become artists following a brain injury- see this site for examples.   Also in terms of music there it the amazing Melody Gardot who makes beautiful music  despite or perhaps as a result of suffering a severe brain injury as a teenager.  Other singers I really like and who have suffered severe brain injury and recovered to do some great work include Marc Almond (details of injury here) and Edwin Collins (details of recovery here).   All these people are inspiring.  The message is that while having a severe brain injury can be devastating there is hope and possibly new futures.  I would encourage young people with brain injury or their parents to explore different potential creative opportunities.  I would also love to hear of other stories of people with a brain injury who have developed creatively following their injury.


3 Responses to “Brain injury and creativity”

  1. Ann-Marie Edson said on

    I have found this article to be very interesting.
    At the age of 17 (I am now 52), I suffered a ruptured AVM and underwent two experimental craniotomies. I now have MS, which was diagnosed about three years ago, after 16 years of tests and doctors throughout the country. I have developed a new interest in poetry. This began in recent years as I have developed a strange way of creating rhymes in my mind. I now see the world differently, and find myself writing poems and other thoughts in a journal, which I never did in the past.

  2. Thanks for your very interesting comment Ann-Marie. I am increasingly finding examples of creativity after brain injury and your experience adds to that.

  3. Really good stuff. Thank you for posting.

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