How Does Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Affect Your Speech?

How Does Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Affect Your Speech?

Every year in the United States, approximately 1.7 million cases of traumatic brain injury (also known as TBI) occur.

Traumatic brain injuries come with a wide range of symptoms, including changes in consciousness, confusion, vision changes, and changes in speaking ability.

Even a very mild traumatic brain injury can have a negative effect on your speaking ability.

Read on to learn more about how these injuries can affect your speech and what you can do to correct the problem.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury is a type of injury that may involve a blow to the head or a penetration injury.

TBIs often occur when the head makes contact suddenly and violently with an object. They can also result when an object pierces the skull and then enters the tissue of the brain.

Common causes of TBI include:

  • Falls
  • Vehicle-related collisions
  • Violence (gunshot wounds, child abuse, domestic violence, etc.)
  • Sports injuries (they’re especially common in sports like football, boxing, and lacrosse)
  • Explosive blasts and/or combat injuries

The specific symptoms and long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries vary depending on their level of severity.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Some common symptoms of a mild TBI include:

  • Brief loss of consciousness (usually lasts for a few seconds or a few minutes)
  • A dazed, confused, or disoriented state
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Speech problems
  • Sleeping difficulties or changes
  • Loss of coordination
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Light or sound sensitivity
  • Difficulty remembering or concentrating

Changes in mood are also common, as is the development of issues like depression or anxiety.

Moderate-to-Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

In the case of a moderate-to-severe TBI, the following symptoms are more common:

  • Loss of consciousness that lasts for several minutes or even several hours
  • A persistent headache or gradually worsening headache
  • Repeated vomiting and/or nausea
  • Seizures
  • Dilation of either one or both pupils
  • Drainage of clear fluid from the nose and/or ears
  • Difficulty awakening from sleep
  • Numbness or weakness in the fingers and/or toes
  • Severe dizziness and/or loss of coordination

People with moderate-to-severe TBI may also experience severe agitation or combativeness and severely slurred speech. They can even fall into a coma or experience other consciousness disorders.

Effects of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury of Speech

Speech problems are one of the most common issues associated with a mild TBI. Specific speech issues a person with a mild TBI might experience include:

Difficulty Producing Speech

Often, people who have experienced a mild TBI may have trouble producing speech. It might be difficult for them to articulate their words or produce sounds (phonation) the way they used to.

TBIs can sometimes affect a person’s breathing ability as well. This, in turn, can have a negative effect on speech quality.

Folks who cannot breathe normally may have a difficult time speaking for long periods of time and their words may sound more “breathy” than usual.

Dysfluent Speech

Dysfluent speech is also common in people suffering from TBI. People with dysfluent speech may repeat sounds, words, and syllables frequently.

They may also experience dysarthria. This condition is the result of weakened oral motor muscles and difficulty controlling them. It can cause slurred speech, slow speech, and difficulty articulating.

Language Difficulties

Language difficulties often accompany TBI, too.

People who have experienced a mild TBI may have trouble understanding words that are written or spoken.

They might have trouble expressing language as well. It’s not uncommon for people with TBI to switch topics or have difficulty keeping up with conversations.

Vocabulary Problems

Someone with a mild TBI may have trouble using or understanding words they already know. They might have difficulty understanding figurative language or following directions, too.

How to Correct Speech Issues Related to TBI

As you can see, there are a lot of speech issues that can occur when a person is suffering from a TBI, even a mild one.

The good news, though, is that there are lots of steps one can take to improve their speech and correct these issues. With mild TBI, the likelihood that someone can make a full recovery is also increased.

One of the best steps one can take to correct their speech issues is to work with a licensed speech therapist.

What Happens During Speech Therapy?

Every speech therapist has a slightly different approach when it comes to helping those who are suffering from TBI. But, in most cases, the treatment plan looks something like this:

Early Stages of Treatment

During the early stages of treatment, shortly after the TBI took place, speech therapists often focus on basic skills.

They might work with the individual on maintaining their attention and staying focused during basic activities. They’ll also work on reducing confusion and helping the individual stay oriented with regards to the date, their location, and the injury that took place.

At this point, they’ll introduce exercises that can help individuals improve their voice production, speaking abilities, breathing abilities, and swallowing skills.

Middle Stages of Recovery

During the middle stages of recovery, the speech therapist will continue working on memory and reasoning and problem-solving strategies.

They may also bring the individual into small groups (in-person or virtually) and have them work on communicating with multiple people at once.

Late Stages of Recovery

In the late stages of recovery, the speech therapist may have the individual work on communicating in larger groups and in public places where more stimulation is present.

They will also continue with speech, swallowing, breathing, and language skills to ensure the individual keeps progressing.

Work with a Speech Therapist Today

Whether it’s a mild traumatic brain injury or a more severe one, these kinds of injuries can have a serious impact on your speaking ability.

Luckily, though, you can often correct the problem by working with a licensed speech therapist.

Thanks to all the technology available today, you don’t even have to leave your house to work with a speech therapist!

At Great Speech, we offer affordable, accessible online speech therapy services for people of all ages. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to schedule a free consultation.

Finding Your Voice Again: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury

Finding Your Voice Again: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury is getting more notoriety these days now that we know more about the brain, concussions and the risk of such injuries. In recent years, there were close to 3 million emergency room cases related to brain injuries.

If you happen to suffer one of these injuries, it’s important that you work hard to heal up and get your full cognitive function back. In this regard, you will want to use the tips below to guide you.

Get Speech Therapy After a Traumatic Brain Injury

One of the biggest dangers of traumatic brain injury is the fact that your speech and communication capability may start to slip.

You may deal with some clarity issues or temporarily lose your ability to communicate as a whole. In order to bounce back from such an injury, speech therapy might be just what the doctor ordered.

This can help you not only formulate words and conversations, but also formulate thought.

After dealing with an injury, you may have trouble finding the right words or getting them out. You might also have some difficulty following conversations or understanding what others are talking about.

When you get full speech therapy, you’ll gain these faculties back, in addition to working on your reading, writing and listening skills.

Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Since a traumatic brain injury makes it difficult to focus and formulate thought, you should look into mindfulness meditation.

You will be able to build cognitive function and create neural pathways by regularly engaging in meditation each day. There are lots of different ways to meditate, so do your due diligence to make sure that you are able to find the practice of meditation that works for you.

For instance, some forms of meditation include simply focusing on your breathing, while others require you to feel into your body and make note of sensations as they come and go.

This is an incredible exercise for your brain that you can carry out each and every day. It will also help you to promote a sense of calm and allow you to get the most out of your recovery as a whole.

Further, meditation can also help to build faith and inspiration, which will be necessary on your road to recovery.

Do Some Jaw Exercises Regularly

Jaw, tongue and lip exercises are incredibly important for your recovery.

When you rebuild this muscle memory and motor skill, you will be in a great position to communicate. This is necessary since many people even have trouble chewing and eating after dealing with an injury.

The sooner you are able to get these skills back on track, the sooner you will gain your full autonomy. There are lots of exercises that your speech therapist or physical therapist can help you with, so make sure that you acquire the tools and practice these exercises on a daily basis.

Add Yoga to Your Life

Practising yoga after a brain injury will not only help you physically, it will also help your brain.

People that use yoga in their recovery build their body and their brain at the same time since the practice builds new connections and promotes balance. You will be better able to get back on your feet and also sharpen your thinking skills.

You can take advantage of some yoga therapy that is specifically catered to recovering from a brain injury to make sure that you are on the path for a full recovery.

Continuously Challenge Your Brain

The best thing you can do after a brain injury is exercise your brain day in and day out.

When you give yourself daily brain challenges, it’ll sharpen your mind and build your reflexes and cognitive thinking. This is why so many people incorporate chess into their recovery while they are going through rehab.

Practising chess every day will help you with neurorehabilitation and will let you bridge the gap in your thinking process. This is a life skill that will carry you far since games like chess are also great for long-term cognitive thought.

Build Your Body to Full Health

Simply put, when you work your body, it is great for your mind.

If your body isn’t healthy, it’ll be difficult for your brain to fire on all cylinders. Get a physical therapist that will work you out, while protecting your safety and making sure that you are constantly pushing yourself.

Exercise is great for the brain because it produces endorphins and can help you think more clearly as a whole.

Fix Your Nutrition as You Heal

Taking the time to get your nutrition under control will help with your recovery.

Eat healthy brain foods, like green vegetables and mushrooms, so that you can think clearly and avoid brain fog. You should also drink lots of water since a dehydrated brain isn’t a functioning brain.

Make sure that you are also avoiding sugary foods, processed food, and high fructose corn syrup. It adversely affects your brain health and will also dampen your recovery efforts.

Bounce Back From Your Traumatic Brain Injury

So there you have it. If you suffer a traumatic brain injury, all is definitely not lost.

You simply need a recovery plan that works, and you can start by using the tips above. We’d love to help.

To learn more about our speech therapy services and how they can help with your traumatic brain injury recovery, reach out to us today.

Top 5 Speech Therapy Exercises for Stroke Patients

Top 5 Speech Therapy Exercises for Stroke Patients

Each year, almost 800,000 people in the United States suffer from a stroke. Strokes can lead to:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Cognitive issues
  • Decreased emotional control
  • Death

Another common effect stroke patients experience is speech impairment. There are many forms of speech impairment stroke patients can suffer from, grouped under the general term aphasia.

While some stroke patients will regain some normal speech patterns post-stroke, there are speech therapy exercises for stroke patients that can help during recovery. We are going to go over 5 of the best speech therapy exercises that you can do at home.

Stroke and Aphasia

Not all stroke patients will experience aphasia, but it’s estimated that as many as 40% of stroke survivors have some form of aphasia.

What Is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when blood cannot access an area of the brain. This could be because of a blood clot (called an Ischemic stroke) or because of a broken blood vessel (a Hemorrhagic stroke).

What Is Aphasia?

If the stroke happens in an area of the brain that controls speech or communication, this can cause aphasia. Aphasia is defined as a language and/or speech impairment. This can affect speech, writing, reading, and general communication.

Types of Aphasia in Stroke Patients

Different forms of aphasia mean that the patient has different difficulties concerning speech and language.

Broca’s aphasia refers to difficulty getting out the right words or sentences longer than 4 words. Formation of words can be difficult, and the speech probably sounds slurred or garbled.

Wernicke’s aphasia patients can get the words out, but they have a hard time discerning the meaning of words. They’ll often say words in sentences that are irrelevant or that don’t make sense.

There are many other aphasia classifications. The general idea with aphasia is that patients have difficulty forming words, saying words properly, and forming complete and grammatical sentences.

Speech therapy can help with speech improvement after a stroke. These are 5 home exercises for stroke patients that can help.

1. Breathing Exercises

A common symptom of aphasia and speech impairment in stroke patients is trouble regulating breathing while speaking. This can cause people to take breaths in the middle of sentences, which makes it difficult to speak at length as well as be understood by listeners.

Doing breathing exercises can help you regulate your breathing while speaking much easier. Practice planning out the breaths you’ll take while speaking. Repeat sentences and breaths to yourself to master when taking a breath is appropriate.

This will help you learn to plan breathing pauses as you relearn how to construct sentences and breathe properly during speech.

2. Tongue Strengthening Exercises

The formation of words is another common symptom of speech impairment in stroke survivors.

Tongue stretches and exercises will strengthen the muscle and make it easier for stroke patients to make the proper sounds to form words. It also helps to strengthen the neural pathways and the “muscle memory” of speech that patients can lose after having a stroke.

One such exercise is sticking the tongue in and out. Simply push out the tongue and leave it out for a few seconds. Pull the tongue back in. Repeat this process multiple times per day.

The tongue can also be strengthened side to side. The patient can also practice touching their tongue to specific areas of the mouth when instructed to better their ability to control the tongue during speech.

3. Practicing Speech Sounds

Making the right sounds and the right words are difficult for aphasia patients. Focused practice on specific sounds and words can be great home exercises for stroke patients.

For example, have the patient practice repeating similar sounds: “Ah, ay, at, al, ack… etc.” Practice saying this set many times in a row before moving to another set. This will exercise the mouth and tongue to practice forming sounds and words.

You should focus on both clarity of the sound (making them as clear and understandable as possible) as well as on the strength (make it loud to strengthen the throat and be understandable).

You can also practice repeating specific words to get the sounds and movements correct. As you improve, you can increase the difficulty of the words you repeat.

4. Naming Pictures

While the physical formation of the words is difficult for some patients, other patients struggle with forming the word that they’re thinking of. In order to strengthen the connection between words and things, you can quiz yourself by looking at pictures and practice saying the word the picture depicts.

This will help you connect images with words in your mind while also helping improve your speech of forming those words. Try repeating the word multiple times to really master the pronunciation and how to form the word with your mouth and tongue muscles.

5. Sentence Practice

Singular word formation isn’t always an issue with stroke patients. But many patients struggle with forming complete and correct sentences.

While you are practicing saying certain words and sounds, you should also try and construct sentences. The can be sentences that you read (if you have maintained reading comprehension post-stroke).

You could also combine this practice with the “naming pictures” exercise. Try and construct a sentence based off of pictures you’re using to practice word formation. The more you practice with sentence formation, the more you’ll be able to link speech to communication post-stroke.

These 5 Speech Therapy Exercises Can Help Stroke Patients

Speech and communication don’t start and stop with saying words. It involves understanding what words to say, how to say them, when to breathe, and how to form full sentences.

Stroke patients can greatly benefit from speech therapy exercises. These can help them relearn how to make sounds, form words, and breathe properly during speech.

If you think that you need help with your speech impairment post-stroke, we can set you up with a free consultation to evaluate your condition and your needs. You can also contact us with any questions you might have about these speech therapy exercises.

Can Speech Therapy Help TBI Patients, online speech therapy for adults

Can Speech Therapy Help TBI Patients?

About 1.7 million people suffer from a TBI every year, and 80% of these people are treated at an emergency department and then released again.

Unfortunately, this first treatment may not be enough for you to recover completely. If you don’t have the right support, from professionals and family, you are likely to lose your job within the first 90 days or returning.

And one of the most common lasting effects of a TBI is impaired communication.

If you’re struggling with speech after your TBI, you may need to take some speech therapy courses.

Take a look at this guide to find out how speech therapy courses can help you.

What Is TBI?

TBI, or traumatic brain injury, is serious and sudden damage to the brain. This isn’t an injury that just damages the head. A TBI causes serious and sometimes fatal damage to the brain.

This type of injury can happen when something stabs through the skull and hits the skull. However, an object doesn’t have to physically touch the brain to cause traumatic brain injury. You can experience TBI if you head takes a heavy blow.

Here are some of the most common injuries that cause TBI:

  • Car accidents
  • Being hit
  • Running into something
  • Falls
  • Assaults
  • Military combat injuries
  • Sports accidents

If you’ve had a TBI already, you are more likely to get one again. If you are hit in the head again, you may have more serious side effects than the first time you got a brain injury.

Side Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Every TBI, no matter what kind you have, causes some kind of damage to your brain right away.

This may include things like bleeding, clots, and a fractured skull. These things can create serious problems if they are left on their own, like seizures, brain swelling, or increased pressure inside your skull.

That’s why it’s so important to see a doctor right away if you suspect you have a TBI.

But there are a lot of other side effects that come with TBIs, and not all of them are physical. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately.

Sensory Problems

Lights may seem brighter to you, noises may sound louder to you, and touch may feel different.

Trouble Thinking Clearly

You will most likely remember what you knew before the TBI, but you may have trouble learning new skills.

It can also be difficult to keep your attention on one thing, solve problems, set goals, and plan ahead. Being aware of your own behavior and how you act around others can be a problem. You may not behave appropriately for the situation and not even realize it.

Issues Swallowing

This condition is called dysphagia. People who suffer from this have trouble chewing and swallowing. They may choke easily and often when they eat.

Changes in Behavior

People with TBI may experience changes in their behavior. For example, a person with TBI might get angry more often than normal or get emotional or anxious.

You could feel all these emotions one after the other because mood swings are a common sign of TBI. You may also suffer from depression.

Things you used to like may make your angry, annoyed, or upset.

Physical Problems

Because of the physical damages to your brain, you may have things like headaches, seizures, vomiting, or dizziness. In more serious cases, you may not even be able to move certain parts of your body and have trouble controlling your limbs.

Losing balance is also a common side effect of a traumatic brain injury.

Difficulty Communicating

You could suddenly have trouble understanding nonverbal cues. Someone shrugging their shoulders could confuse you, and you might interrupt other people when they are still talking.

The rules of conversation may be lost to you, cause you’re to say the wrong things and the wrong times.

Speech Problems

There are at least three different speech problems you might suffer after a TBI. Let’s take a close look at each one.

Top Three Communication Impairments Resulting From TBI

The right speech therapy courses can help you recover from these different speech problems.


This occurs when the parts of the brain responsible for controlling our speech muscles are damaged. In order to speak clearly again, someone with dysarthria needs to take speech therapy courses that focus on strengthening the muscles again and improves the movement of the mouth and tongue.


In this case, the actual muscles are fine, but the brain has trouble sending the right messages to the muscles. This could make someone stumble over a word when asked to repeat it even though they can say it in a normal sentence.

Speech therapy courses will focus on saying individual sounds and placing the tongue and lips correctly.


People with anomia literally can’t remember the names of the words they’re looking for. A speech therapist will help develop strategies to remember these words and find a way to communicate what you’re trying to say without the words.

How Can Speech Therapy Courses Help?

Speech therapy can treat these communication problems. They can give someone experiencing speech troubles from a TBI ways to cope and talk to other people.

Therapy can also restore communication skills that were lost during the traumatic brain injury. It will use assistive technology to help you relearn what you’ve lost and strengthen your muscles and brain signals.

Take the Right Speech Therapy Courses

If you’re experiencing any of these speech problems because of a TBI, you need to get into speech therapy right away. During the first 6 months post TBI, the most progress can be made due to brain neuroplasticity. Ignoring these issues can cause the problems to get worse, and they will be even harder to address in the future.

Having trouble finding the right speech therapy program for you? Take a look at some of our courses and learn how they can help you.


Ways to treat Aphasia, online speech therapy

Ways to treat Aphasia

If you’ve had a stroke, you also have a one in three chance of developing aphasia.

In addition to struggling with language disorder as a result of being diagnosed with aphasia, you will likely also experience severe psychological consequences. You may feel depressed, hopeless, or even “talked down to” by people that misinterpret aphasia as a sign of mental illness or a lack of intelligence.

In short, it can be a very trying time for both those diagnosed and their loved ones.

Luckily, you do have options for aphasia treatment.

Read on to learn more about aphasia and the different ways you can treat it.

What Is Aphasia?

Before we get into potential aphasia treatment options, lets first make sure you’re clear on what this disorder actually is.

Aphasia is a result of brain damage, most often after a stroke. Because the left side of your brain is the part that’s responsible for speech and language, you can assume that most people suffering from Aphasia have endured trauma in this section of their brains.

When diagnosed, you can expect to experience difficulty understanding what people are saying (regardless of the language they are speaking or your level of fluency with it.)

You may also struggle to write and read as well as you once did. In addition to having trouble understanding others, in some cases you may also have trouble speaking or remembering what you wanted to say next.

Sometimes, you may also have difficulty swallowing as a result of weak muscles in your tongue and mouth.

What Are The Symptoms Of Aphasia?

In some cases, the need for Aphasia treatment will be easy to recognize. In others, it can take quite some time to get the proper diagnosis.

Therefore, it’s extremely important — especially if you or someone you love has recently suffered some form of brain damage — to understand the symptoms.

When it comes to speaking, those with Aphasia may frequently mix up words. For example, if you wanted to ask for “salad dressing,” you might instead ask someone to pass you the “breadbasket” or a more unrelated word like “chair” or “kite.”

In extreme cases, those with Aphasia may even make up nonsense words.

When it comes to comprehension, those with Aphasia may struggle to follow a conversation, suddenly lose the ability to understand what’s being said, or even fail to understand why a joke is funny.

You may also find it challenging to read books. For example, you may get halfway down the page and fail to remember anything that came before it. You may also struggle with even basic arithmetic.

Understanding Your Case

When you decide to accept Aphasia treatment, the first thing you can expect to have happen is a series of tests to determine the severity of your case.

This is where working with a professional is incredibly important. You can formulate a specific, bespoke recovery plan.

Usually, you’ll be placed with a speech pathologist who is trained to evaluate the current level of your written, speaking, and verbal abilities. You should also expect to be upfront about what you can and cannot understand, as well as any ongoing linguistic challenges you’re experiencing.

It is not the time to hide things or to feel embarrassed.

During the diagnostic session, you’ll be asked to read and write several passages. You may also be asked to retell stories, repeat words and sentences, and even correctly name objects around the room.

You may also be given a photograph and be asked to describe the things you see in the picture. In some cases, you may also be asked to complete basic mathematical equations.

Aphasia Treatment Options

After your intake session, the actual treatment can begin.

Be aware that, with the help of a therapist, you may experience rapid recovery in as little as a few days or weeks after treatment. This is referred to as “spontaneous recovery,” and while it certainly doesn’t happen to everyone, getting professional help increases your chances.

Be aware, however, that the pace of your recovery may vary greatly — you may make incredible strides in one or two sessions, only to stall for a while after that.

All of this is completely normal.

You will learn how to strengthen the muscles in your tongue and mouth to prevent slurring. You’ll also relearn how to respond to social cues and practice correct intonation.

You will even use rote memory to help you associate words and objects with the correct meaning.

You and your therapist will work together to strengthen your basic conversational skills through role-playing activities. You’ll speak and listen at a variety of paces.

This will help you to rebuild your speech and language skills.

If you struggle to swallow, or deal with other side effects of the stroke or brain injury, you and your therapist will work to overcome these issues as well.

Need Aphasia Intervention?

Whether for yourself or for a loved one, we hope that this post has helped you to understand more about both Aphasia itself and the possible Aphasia treatment options.

Getting help — and admitting that you’re struggling — is never easy. You’ve made an incredible first step.

However, if you want to be able to strengthen you linguistic and comprehension skills, it’s where you go for that help that can make all the difference.

That’s where we come in.

Our specialized Speech and Language Pathologists are trained to provide the very best care possible. We provide you with several options so that you can find what works for you.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help put you on the road to recovery.


7 Ways Speech Therapy Can Aid in Brain Injury Recovery, online speech therapy for adults

6 Ways Speech Therapy Can Aid in Brain Injury Recovery

A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) works with people who have experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Most often, a TBI occurs during a car or motorcycle accident. One can also occur in near-drowning accidents when the brain is deprived of oxygen.

During recovery, the SLP’s focus is on the patient’s communication. SLPs also focus on muscles of the face, throat, and mouth.

Often, the brain injury affects the basics of facial expression, chewing, and swallowing. For these reasons, the speech goals for TBI patients include more than language.

They include cognition, speech, and the throat as well. Memory plays a vital role in all these things. An SLP may incorporate therapies to improve memory as part of the brain injury recovery plan.

The following are seven ways that speech therapy can be part of a TBI patient’s brain injury recovery. We will focus on the therapies that are ongoing after the physical injuries have healed.

1. Therapies for Dysarthria

A brain injury that damages the nerves in the brain that control muscles can impair speech. A patient may slur his or her speech. Or, the speech sounds can be slow, too soft, or sound muffled, like a mumble. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) calls this condition dysarthria.

The speech therapist’s goals involve improving the patient’s “speech intelligibility.” Therapies include exercises to coordinate lip and tongue movements, improve breath support, and increase muscle strength in the mouth, jaw, tongue, and throat.

2. Therapies for Apraxia

Another condition common to brain injury recovery is apraxia. Patients have difficulty with sounds and syllables. They know what words they want to say, but have trouble sequencing them. They can’t form the words.

The speech therapist’s goals for apraxia involve exercises to slow the rate of speech and pronounce words correctly. If the condition is severe, the SLP may introduce an alternative or augmentative communication device.

Such devices can range from simple picture boards to digital communication systems. SLP will train the patient on how to use the system.

3. Improving Memory

Memory goes hand-in-hand with speech and communication. A speech therapist often introduces memory aids to help build language for the brain injury patient. Memory aids include a memory log, calendar, documented schedule, or a log (digital or on a smart device) of important addresses and phone numbers.

The SLP takes the time to train the patient on how to use these tools to enhance memory. With practice, they help the patient build competency as well as language.

4. Improving Social Language Functions

According to ASHA, people with brain injuries may need to learn ways to keep up with conversations. They may need to relearn how to interpret nonverbal signals such as body language and facial expressions. They may even need to learn how to respond to continue a normal conversation.

When speaking, the patient with a TBI may not show expression. His or her voice may not have the expected effect.

Strengthening social language can help the patient compensate for other speech problems they have like intelligibility. Patients can learn to compensate with facial expressions, eye contact, and gestures to improve their communication.

Speech therapists often work with patients in small groups to build these social language functions.

5. Improving Cognitive Communication Skills

Part of communication means being able to attend to information and remember what others have said. People with brain injuries may have difficulty with attention and short-term memory. They may find it difficult to process new information.

As part of their brain injury recovery, they may also need to learn strategies for planning and organizing their thoughts. Rehearsing information improves cognitive processing. Eventually, individuals need to return to work, school, and daily life.

They need to be able to ask appropriate questions, focus on tasks, and recall names and numbers. When performing steps to any given task, they need to be able to recall the proper sequence as well as any safety precautions. A speech therapist incorporates these goals into the treatment plan.

Maintaining Attention

The SLP addresses these needs as part of the medical team supporting a TBI patient’s brain injury recovery. The SLP focuses on helping the patient maintain attention for basic activities.

Problem Solving Strategies

Speech therapists can teach the patient learning strategies to help problem-solving, reasoning, and organizational skills. One of the main goals is to reduce confusion as the patient attempts to process various stimuli in their environment.

Community Outings

Speech therapists can organize guided community outings. The patient will, with help, plan, organize, and take short trips.

SLPs may introduce various support aids to help. Such aids could include organizers, checklists, memory logs, and the like.

6. Compensatory Strategy Training

Teaching TBI patients compensatory strategies means focusing on the patients’ remaining skills and maximizing them. In this way, they can focus on their strengths and use them to overcome the speech and/or communication deficits caused by the injury.

SLPs accomplish this by either modifying the patient’s environment or providing them with some kind of support. This support can be internal, such as using mnemonics or imagery association to recall words. Other options are using memory aids like calendars and smart devices to help support memory.

SLPs may suggest and then train external strategies that involve assistive technology. These strategies can support several impairments related to attention, navigation, time management, and so on.

Continued Support for Brain Injury Recovery

Persons with a traumatic brain injury need ongoing support. The speech therapist plays one role among many on the patient’s road to brain injury recovery.

Traditionally, speech therapy happens face-to-face. Though, online services are available. If you have any questions about speech therapy after a TBI, or questions about online speech therapy, please contact us.