Speech Therapy Treats Cognitive Impairment after a Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can lead to cognitive-communication impairment that affects a sufferer’s ability to focus, express themselves, and comprehend language. TBIs are often the result of a motor vehicle collision or a sports accident, and the lasting cognitive effects can make life challenging in ways it never was before. Sufferers experience difficulty keeping their jobs, making friends and sustaining relationships, and focusing on reading materials. Speech pathology in Toronto is designed to help people who experience communication difficulties due to a TBI by teaching compensation strategies. These strategies equip sufferers with the tools to overcome their cognitive impairments.

Speech Therapy

Some of the communication difficulties experienced by individuals who have suffered a traumatic brain injury include:

  • Understanding verbal and written words
  • Conversing with other people or interacting socially
  • Remembering information or organizing their ideas
  • Solving problems and performing “executive functions” (the mental capacity to do things, i.e. pay attention to someone speaking, remember what they’ve said, or focus attention on a different speaker)

These can make it difficult for individuals with a TBI to return to work or maintain social relationships they found easy before their injury. However, there are interventions that can help sufferers compensate for their cognitive difficulties. Compensation strategies are new ways of achieving the same tasks. These are some of the areas in which speech therapists at Toronto’s Simone Friedman SLS offer treatment.

#1 Attention and information processing

Following a Traumatic Brain Injury, individuals may have difficulty attending to, processing and remembering information.  This can affect them when listening and/or when reading, be it at school, in the workplace and/or in the community.  Taking steps to eliminate visual and/or auditory distractions around them can be helpful. They may have difficulty remembering information too, so learning strategies to attend to, understand and remember the material will be essential. Progress can sometimes be slow, graduating from single paragraphs to longer materials.

#2 Social interaction

Traumatic brain injuries have been known to cause personality changes in a person. They may have difficulty recognizing words and even certain social cues. They may not understand sarcasm, struggle to begin a conversation, interrupt too frequently, or lose focus on what speakers are saying. Interventions can include a number of strategies, including feedback from a speech therapist, the therapist demonstrating how to handle different scenarios, and context-specific skill building.

#3 Communication in the workplace

Speech therapists at Simone Friedman SLS work one-on-one with individuals in context, which means that TBI-sufferers can better adapt their techniques to specific tasks. For example, a speech therapist can evaluate the communication requirements of the individual’s job and tailor strategies to relevant everyday tasks. Problem solving difficulty poses a real challenge to people returning to work after a brain injury. Speech therapists teach organization strategies and methods for breaking down the problem solving process. You can discover more information on in-context therapy when you visit Simonefriedmansls.com. A therapist will leave individuals with the tools to compensate for their cognitive difficulties independently. With one-on-one coaching from a speech pathologist in Toronto, people coping with cognitive difficulties at the workplace set communication goals for themselves that relate directly to their job and improve their ability to return to work.

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