What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a neurological complication that occurs as a result of an external force or sudden injury happening in the brain. TBI’s may manifest as a consequence of two subsets of trauma directly affecting the structure of the brain. The first subset (acquired brain injury) results from direct force to the brain caused by things such as falling off a ladder, bumping your head, vehicle accidents or violence. The other subset involves little external mechanical force, such as a stroke or an aneurysm.
Brain injuries can be classified from mild to severe depending on the localisation of site to which the injury occurs in the brain and the extent to which a person’s daily life and participation is affected.
Executive function is a term used to describe cognitive processes that manage, influence and control other cognitive processes. This includes cognitive processes such as regulation and monitoring of actions, memory, planning, decision making, verbal reasoning, problem solving and task initiation. Executive dysfunction is a term used to describe deficits or disruption in the way executive processes are carried out. Executive dysfunction may manifest/present as a result of TBI causing potential problems to cognition and behaviour.
Communication and Swallowing
Communication and swallowing may be significantly impaired following a TBI. Communication difficulties may include slurred speech (dysarthria), oral motor incoordination (apraxia), high level language/cognitive deficits and disorders of language (aphasia) and swallowing (dysphagia). A Speech Pathologist is a trained professional who works closely with patients and their families following a TBI. Speech Pathologists provide intervention to patients in both acute and rehabilitative settings, so that patients receive optimal treatment to maximise communication output. Treatment is generally intensive following a TBI.
If you feel that you or a family member may require assistance with communication following a TBI contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see a speech pathologist. We‘ll provide you with a straightforward, efficient and very effective treatment plan targeted to your concerns.
Ponsford, J. (2012). Understanding and managing traumatic brain injury.