The Brain Injury Association of America designated March as National Brain Injury Awareness Month, a time to take a closer look at traumatic and non-traumatic brain injuries. While many brain injuries are caused by a blow to the head from an accident or fall, some are non-traumatic and caused by illnesses like dementia or a stroke.
Your mom fell and hit her head causing a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Her doctor recommends that she arrange speech therapy. What can a speech therapist do?
Help With Memory Retention
Your mom’s speech therapist will help her work on his memory skills. This can make it easier for her to recall the word she’s trying to say. She may need to use tools like a calendar, written out list, or event log to start tracking everything.
Help With Speech Skills
If your mom’s speech is slurred or broken, speech therapy will help her regain the skills he needs to speak slowly, clearly, and enunciate each sound. She’ll do this through exercises that help with lip and tongue positioning.
Help Planning What to Say or Communicate
Sometimes, a TBI can make it hard to focus. Before she can get her message across, your mom needs to be able to plan out what she is going to say or communicate. Speech therapy can help her with these planning stages.
She’ll learn how to come up with a mental outline of what he wants to communicate and the steps needed to get his point across. She’ll work on exercises that allow her to plan out the actual speech in communication of what she wants to say.
Help Reading People
Your mom may need help reading others’ expressions. If her brain injury made it hard for her to recognize when someone is irritated, angry, or bored, she may become frustrated by their lack of attention. Learning how to read people is a key part of speech therapy services.
What Can You Do?
Try to put yourself in your mom’s shoes. When you’re talking to her, be patient and give her time to mentally plan what she needs to say. Then get the words or hand gestures out.
Don’t be impatient or try to fill in the blanks for her. Rushing her along will frustrate her and keep her from wanting to talk to others. Isolation also isn’t ideal and can impact his mental and physical health. Both loneliness and isolation have been tied to increased chances of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Talk to her medical team about the benefits of speech therapy. If she’s slurring her words or finding it hard to come up with the right words, a speech therapist can assist her in finding the words and coming up with the best ways to communicate. Call a speech therapy practice to get started.