Did you know that each year over 2.4 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury? Each March, the Brain Injury Association of America holds National Brain Injury Awareness Month, a campaign to raise awareness of how traumatic brain injury (TBI) can affect lives and how to prevent it. Since communication is one of the most frequently affected areas in TBI, Speech Associates of NY is supporting Brain Injury Awareness Month by dedicating this week’s blog to providing more information about TBI: what it is, how it happens, and what speech-language therapy can do to help.
What is traumatic brain injury, and how does it happen? A TBI is any sort of blow to the head that results in the disruption of normal brain function. Because the brain is so complex, the results of TBI can vary widely depending on the person, the type of injury, and the area of the brain that is injured. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the most common causes of TBI are:
- Falls (35.2%)
- Motor vehicle-traffic crashes (17.3%)
- Struck by/against events (16.5%)
- Assaults (10%)
How can a speech-language pathologist help? Issues with speech, language, and communication are very common following TBI. Speech affects the way a person pronounces words, including mismatched sounds and slurred or imprecise speech. Language involves the actual formulation of words and sentences as opposed to difficulty producing sounds. Language issues can involve difficulty finding words, difficulty understanding language, and can affect reading and writing as well as speaking. Problems with short and long term memory, social communication skills, and even swallowing are also common after TBI and can be improved with the help of a certified speech-language pathologist. A speech therapist will conduct an in-depth evaluation to determine what specific areas are affected and the individual patient’s areas of strength and difficulty. Therapy can include not only improving on areas of weakness, but also finding ways to compensate for lost or damaged skills.
Have you or a loved one experienced TBI? How has it affected your life and ability to communicate? Share your story in the comments section below!
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 http://www.speechassociatesofny.com and find out how our team of professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists can help!
© 2015, Speech Associates of New York – All Rights Reserved