Speech therapy following a brain injury usually addresses a variety of issues including speech quality, and understanding and expressing the spoken and written word. Speech therapists also assist patients with cognitive issues, and swallowing problems. The speech therapist will often:
- Thoroughly evaluate changes in communication and cognitive skills due to the brain injury and the impact of these changes on day-to-day activities. For some problems, the therapist may recommend evaluation by a hearing specialist (audiologist) or an ear, nose, and throat doctor (otolaryngologist).
- Emphasize the relearning of cognitive skills that are affected by the brain injury. Those skills include attention, memory, sequencing, planning, reasoning/problem-solving, judgment, self-monitoring of thoughts and behaviors, and the ability to use the relearned skills in other settings and situations. The therapist works with other members of the Rehab Team to help the patient address cognitive skills in all daily activities.
- Evaluate the skills necessary for effective duty, school, work, and community functioning. They focus on relearning those tasks that are specific to the patient’s previous work or school responsibilities when possible.
- The therapist may also help the patient and family explore specific devices to maximize the patient’s ability to communicate, for example a letter or word board, an electronic communication device, or a computer system.
- Evaluate and manage swallowing problems called dysphagia.