After a traumatic brain injury (TBI), individuals typically have a range of goals to work on. There are often lots of therapists involved including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech pathologists and even dietitians. Each of these therapists will work alongside the patient and the medical team to identify personal goals and provide a specific treatment program.
A speech pathologist may support a patient to work on:
A brain injury can affect the nerves that control the muscles/structures used in speech (e.g., tongue, teeth, lips). If this has occurred, a person may slur their words, or produce speech that is slow, or tricky to understand. A speech pathologist may provide a range of exercises to improve the person’s ability to produce clear speech including specific activities and general clear speech strategies.
A brain injury can affect the parts of the brain that are associated with understanding and producing language. For many people with language difficulties, they may know the words that they want to say but have difficulty sequencing them into a clear sentence, or they may have trouble understanding words and sentences produced by others. A speech pathologist will work directly with the patient to improve language skills and may also provide some other support for communication (e.g., communication books, apps or tools).
Social communication skills
A brain injury may impact on a person’s ability to interact appropriately with others, including reading non-verbal communication (e.g., body language), understanding appropriate topics of conversation and participating equally in a discussion with someone. A speech pathologist will work with the individual to improve their social communication skills including directly training appropriate communication skills, gestures, and facial expressions.
Higher level communication, memory and thinking skills
Individuals with a brain injury may have some difficulties with processing information, concentrating on tasks, and understanding humour etc. Speech pathologists will assess and help to target these communication and thinking skills as part of the intervention process. This may include developing some memory aides and visual supports to assist in increasing independence.
If you have further questions or would like more information regarding how a speech pathologist may be able to help you or a loved one, please contact us on (02) 4862 5063 to book an appointment with one of our certified practising Speech Pathologists.