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The SHIPS Project: for young people with an acquired neurological difficulty

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The SHIPS Project is part of Above & Beyond, Charity No. 1170973, the local charity that raises funds for all Bristol’s city centre hospitals. They invest in projects that make a real difference to patient care.

To find out more visit their website at




An Acquired Brain Injury, known as an ABI, can happen to any child or young person, at any time.   It can often be traumatic, stressful and frightening.  While it can be caused by any number of incidents and accidents, it has the potential to change lives completely, turning them upside down and inside out.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are the result of a medical trauma, or blow to the head.  Non-traumatic injuries include the results of diseases such as meningitis, encephalitis and viral infections, brain tumours, heart conditions and strokes. 

The effects of ABI are long lasting and, although recovery slows down after the first 6 months, it may continue for up to 10 years.  Hence young people in their teenage years will still display the effects of their ABI even if it occurred before they started school.  The consequences of the injury will be seen in all areas of school and home life. 

The pupil may sit quietly in the classroom, appearing to act like any other pupil, but underneath there are significant differences and teachers have to work hard to maximise their learning potential.  Any difficulties or damage may not initially be obvious; sometimes it is only when skills fail to develop as would be expected, that the consequences of the injury may truly be seen, and this may be many years after the injury took place.

When a child has sustained an ABI, they have to relearn everything.  At first it is walking, talking and feeding, but later it is reading, writing and arithmetic.  They come to realise that the skills they took for granted before, have to be relearned and who they are has changed. Parents and siblings too face a major upheaval.  Just when they are most needed by the injured child, they can feel just as lost as their child, not knowing what to do or where to turn.

This is why, at SHIPS, we help both those who have sustained an ABI, and their friends and family. We aspire to ensure that no child or parent is left without the help they need to deal with a life-changing development in their lives; we want every child with ABI to know that there’s someone they can talk to who understands what they’re going through. To help these children, we know that we have to educate the adults around them; no matter whether they’re at school or at home, they can be safe in the knowledge that they can trust the people they depend on to know what to do.

Latest News

Dates for your diary

TRAINING FOR Autumn 2020 is going online! Webinars are planned for ABI awareness and our ever popular Understanding ABI course. For further details visit our Resources and Courses page. ... Read more


Your name was passed to me at our SEN Consultation Planning Meeting in January by FW  at Education Support Services and also by my colleague at St... Read More



The input of specialist teaching has obviously been of great benefit to J, but I believe the service given by SHIPS has been invaluable to J himself... Read More

Mrs B, Mother