Brain Injury Awareness Month: Swallowing and Cognitive Issues

 StrokeEach March, the Brain Injury Association of America conducts a public awareness campaign for traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Speech language pathologists are often heavily involved in rehabilitation after a brain injury since speech and language issues are a common result of TBIs. But speech-language therapists aren’t only involved in deficits that impact communication. Difficulty with swallowing and cognition are also common problems following a traumatic brain injury. What are some ways that speech therapists can help with these issues?

  • Swallowing Issues: A traumatic brain injury can decrease the speed, coordination, and strength of the muscles that control swallowing. Issues with swallowing can cause food or liquid to be inadvertently diverted into the lungs. A speech-language pathologist can provide swallowing therapy as well as recommendations for feeding-management techniques and techniques to increase safety when eating and drinking. If necessary, a speech therapist will also make recommendations for changing the texture of food and liquid to make swallowing safer.
  • Cognitive and Pragmatic Issues: Traumatic brain injuries can also cause difficulty with memory, organization, planning, and attention. In addition to speech, language, and swallowing, speech-language pathologists are also able to provide cognitive therapy, and can provide compensatory strategies and exercises to increase cognitive functioning following a traumatic brain injury. Patients might also have difficulty with pragmatics, or the social use of language, including difficulty with turn-taking, topic maintenance, and interpreting facial expressions and body language. These issues can greatly interfere with an individual’s ability to maintain relationships and communicate effectively. Speech-language pathologists are trained to help improve social language functioning.


For information on our New York based Speech-Language Pathology services, please call Speech Associates of New York today at (212) 308-7725 or visit our website at and find out how our team of professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists can help!


© 2014, Speech Associates of New York – All Rights Reserved


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