Speech Pathology for Acquired Brain Injury
Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)
Acquired brain injury refers to the occurrence of an insult to the brain, causing temporary or permanent damage. The brain can be injured as a result of:
- traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- brain tumour
- infection and disease
- near drowning or other anoxic episodes
- alcohol and drug abuse
Every 1 in 45 Australian adults have an acquired brain injury (ABI) that restricts their participation in everyday life and involvement in activities that they love doing. An ABI can significantly impact a person’s thinking, communication and swallowing.
The Invisible Injury
A brain injury is quite often described as ‘invisible’ because you can’t see it. It can present in many different ways in people, including memory loss, chronic pain, permanent physical disabilities, difficulty in emotional regulation, sensory difficulties, challenges in regulating balance, fatigue and vision impairment. Injuries can isolate people and therefore people experience loneliness and mental health issues
A large proportion of the general population is unaware of the impact it has on people’s lives, and we are all about advocating for people living with brain injury. This is a real issue – just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there!
It is important to embrace the uniqueness of individuals with brain injury and celebrate one’s strengths. It is also important for people with brain injury to self-advocate about their practical needs, so they can reconnect with their communities with support. By doing that, this will gradually reduce social isolation for people living with brain injury.
Cognitive and Communication Problems after Brain Injury
Many people will experience different form of communication problem after brain injury, depending on the areas of the brain affected and the severity of the injury.
These cognitive and communication difficulties can affect the person’s everyday life and the lives of those around them. The problems can lead to reduced social contact and impaired ability to live independently and carry out previous activities (e.g. working and caring for family).
To name a few:
- Social communication problems
- Memory and Cognitive difficulties
- Behavioural, Emotional and Personality Changes
- Slurred speech (dysarthria)
- Language difficulty (aphasia)
Speech Pathology in Brain Injury Rehabilitation
These difficulties affect everyone differently. As the specialists of neurological rehabilitation, our Speech Pathologists are responsible for the assessment and management of talking, understanding, reading, writing, swallowing and social communication in people with ABI.
An individualised rehabilitation plan is developed to meet the person’s needs and goals. We will work with you to develop a rehabilitation program to meet your needs and goals. We can suggest ways to communicate more easily and provide technology that helps. The treatment will vary depending on different factors, but focusing on increasing participation and independence in daily life is our golden rule.