Every year, approximately 1.7 million cases of traumatic brain injury (or TBI for short) take place throughout the United States. Almost 5.3 million people also live with long-term disabilities caused by traumatic brain injuries.
If someone you love has experienced a TBI, you may be desperate to do whatever you can to help them recover and move forward with their lives. One of the best treatment options you may want to consider for your loved one is speech therapy.
TBI speech therapy has a lot to offer victims of traumatic brain injuries. Read on to learn more about this therapy and the reasons you may want to consider it.
Benefits of TBI Speech Therapy
There are plenty of reasons to look into TBI speech therapy. Some primary benefits it offers to your loved one include the following:
Improve Speaking Ability
If your loved one has trouble speaking after experiencing a TBI, speech therapy can be a lifesaver. A speech therapist can help them to speak more clearly and adjust the pitch and tone of their voice to ensure that people can understand them.
Speech therapists can also help for pronunciation. Pronouncing certain words or making certain sounds can become difficult after a TBI. A therapist will work to address these issues with certain exercises and special tools.
Working with a speech therapist can also help TBI sufferers to improve their memory and cognitive abilities. When memory and cognition improve, it becomes easier for them to communicate and make sure they’re using the correct terms.
Strengthen Social Language
A speech therapist can also help with social language issues. This includes things like body language and other nonverbal communication cues like eye contact.
Signs Someone Needs TBI Speech Therapy
Sometimes, TBI causes serious impairments to a person’s ability to speak and communicate. In other cases, though, it’s not always easy to tell when speech therapy is needed.
Here are some signs you ought to look out for when deciding if speech therapy is right for your loved one:
One of the most common speech-related issues associated with a TBI is difficulty speaking.
Your loved one may have trouble forming words because of weakness in certain muscles. This is known as dysarthria.
They may also have trouble controlling their muscles. This symptom is known as apraxia.
Trouble swallowing is common among TBI sufferers, too. This problem, known as dysphagia, can affect their ability to eat and drink on their own.
Social communication may become a struggle for certain people after they experience a TBI.
They might have trouble conducting themselves properly in social situations (for example, they might speak out of turn or interrupt without realizing it). They may also struggle with forms of nonverbal communication (shrugging, eye contact, posture, etc).
Poor Language Reception
Language reception may also be an issue for your loved one.
They might have difficulties understanding what others are saying or keeping up with long or complex conversations. They might not recognize certain words or struggle to remember what others have told them.
What Happens During TBI Speech Therapy
Every speech therapy program is different, and the specific therapies your loved one receives will vary depending on the severity of their issues and the specific symptoms they’re experiencing.
That being said, there are some commonalities across the board. Explained below is a basic breakdown of what your loved one can expect when they start participating in speech therapy:
The first step when working with a speech therapist is to undergo an initial evaluation. During this evaluation, the therapist will determine the severity of your loved one’s symptoms and work to put together a plan of action.
Early Stages of Recovery
Next, they’ll start carrying out that plan of action if you and your loved one work with them.
They’ll require your loved one (and possibly you as well) to attend regular sessions, complete exercises, and do homework outside of those sessions to ensure continued progress.
The goal is to get your loved one to a place where they can do many things for themselves. The speech therapist will work with them to help them become more independent and handle everyday tasks and conversations with ease.
How to Choose a Speech Therapy Program
If you want your loved one to experience all the benefits of TBI speech therapy, you need to make sure you’ve chosen the right program. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you begin considering your options:
Consider Their Expertise
Look for a speech therapist who has experience working with people who have experienced TBIs. If they have this specific experience, they’ll be better equipped to help your loved one overcome their symptoms.
Look at Their Location
Try to find a speech therapist who is located relatively close to your loved one’s home. This will make it easier for them to attend appointments regularly. You may want to consider an online speech therapy program if there aren’t any therapists close by.
Consult Your Schedule
Make sure the therapist you’re considering has openings that fit with you and your loved one’s schedules. Make sure they can get you in relatively soon, too.
Go with Your Gut
Finally, don’t forget to go with your gut. You have to make sure you trust this therapist to work well with your loved one and keep their best interests in mind. If they don’t seem like a good fit, they might not be.
Try Speech Therapy at Home Today
Do you want to experience the benefits that TBI speech therapy has to offer? Are you having trouble finding a good speech therapy program in your area? Are you wary of driving to and from a speech therapist’s office regularly?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you might work with a speech therapist from the comfort of your own home instead.
Great Speech makes it easy for you to do this. We offer online speech therapy with trained and experienced therapists. Contact us today to learn more about our methods or to schedule a free consultation.