Traumatic Brain Injury

An SLP will evaluate the following speech and language skills before specific treatment begins:

  • Social communication skills- Can the patient understand other peoples’ feelings and actions?
  • Cognitive communication skills- Is the patient cognizant of his/her surroundings?
  • Oral motor skills- Does the patient have coordination and strength in oral muscles needed for speech?
  • Language skills- Can the patient use and understand vocabulary and grammar, in both writing and reading?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a complex head injury, usually resulting from a blow to the head, causing the brain to collide with the skull. TBI also can occur when foreign objects enter the brain. There is a wide range of symptoms and disabilities associated with TBI. The severity of TBI varies, as well. A mild case can be treated with rest and over-the-counter medicine, while the most serious ones may be fatal.

Disabilities associated with TBI:

Cognitive Problems

  • Short-term memory lapses
  • Problems concentrating
  • Difficulty solving problems
  • Acting impulsively (without thinking)
  • Having trouble processing new information


Social/Communication Problems

  • Difficulty finding words to express oneself
  • Lacking appropriate conversational skills (interrupting, speaking abnormally loud, maintaining a topic of conversation)
  • Difficulty interpreting the subtleties of conversation (body language, facial expressions, sarcasm)
  • Inability to follow a fast-paced conversation
  • Inability to understand both written and spoken messages
  • Impaired speech due to weakened or less coordinated mouth muscles

Physical Problems

  • Headache
  • Hearing loss
  • Nausea
  • Vertigo
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
  • Loss of coordination

A team of physicians, including speech-language pathologists (SLP), doctors, neuropsychologists, and physical therapists will work together to formulate the best treatment plan for a patient recovering from TBI.

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