Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain caused by physical trauma or external force, e.g. a fall, blow to the head, or car accident.
TBI can happen to anyone, though, in Australia, a disproportionate number of young men are affected. Depending on the location and extent of the damage, people with a TBI may have symptoms of aphasia (including naming and oral expressive language, comprehension, and reading and writing difficulties) or dysarthria. But often they have bigger issues with what are called “cognitive communication tasks”, e.g. tasks involving social communication skills (such as turn taking and maintaining appropriate topics of conversation), insight, attention, memory and reasoning skills.
Each person who has had a TBI has different needs, priorities and goals. Many people need tailored support to go back to work or school and to communicate more effectively with family and friends.
Common communication goals for people recovering from TBI include training in improving their attention, eliminating inappropriate behaviours (such as withholding irrelevant and tangential responses), re-telling cogent narratives and recounts, re-learning functional vocabulary needed for school or work, learning self-monitoring and comprehension strategies and compensatory strategies to manage their long-term impairments (e.g. writing things down to remember them or asking people to repeat instructions).
Family members and friends – and the person who has had a TBI – can benefit from training in strategies to facilitate communication.
- How to assess and treat people for communications problems caused by brain injuries
- How to write for people with acquired language problems (an example)
Banter Speech & Language is owned and managed by David Kinnane, a Hanen- and LSVT LOUD-certified speech-language pathologist with post-graduate training in the Spalding Method for literacy, the Lidcombe and Camperdown Programs for stuttering, and Voicecraft for voice disorders. David is also a Certified PESL Instructor for accent modification.
David holds a Master of Speech Language Pathology from the University of Sydney, where he was a Dean’s Scholar. David is a Practising Member of Speech Pathology Australia and a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist (CPSP).