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Speech Therapy and Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) results when the brain is damaged by an external force resulting with a disruption in the normal functioning of the brain. In order to identify the occurrence of a TBI, different battery assessments may be used. These include neurological exams, which consist of testing the individual’s learning, memory, and problem solving, and imaging testing that can include CT scans and/or MRIs.

The severity of TBI can range from mild to severe. Symptoms of a mild TBI include concussion, headache, neck pain, nausea, ringing ears, dizziness, and/or lethargy. In more severe forms of TBI, symptoms will include coma, memory loss, and death. Some other symptoms include reduced lifespan and behavior changes. TBIs may also lead to a variety of long and short-term issues involving cognitive functions (attention and memory), motor functions (weakness and impaired balance), and sensation and behavior issues (personality changes, depression, aggression).

TBIs can substantially be reduced with precautionary measures. Fall prevention is just one of these measures and includes talking to your doctor to determine risks or increase stability and strength of the lower body to improve balance and gait. Individuals should also take the necessary precautions to ensure the home is free of hazards such as cluttered walkways, loose wires, or rugs without non-slip backings. Additional precautionary measures include, practicing safety on the road, wearing a helmet when participating in activities that may lead to high impact force to the head, and creating and maintaining safe environments for children.

Speech and language treatment methods include:

  1. Community support and integration

  2. Computer based treatment

  3. Constraint-induced language therapy is an intensive treatment program created to increase spoken language while discouraging (constraining) compensatory communication strategies, such as, gesturing and writing.

  4. Melodic intonation therapy (MIT) utilizes musical elements of the voice, such as, melody, rhythm, and stress, to improve language output. MIT capitalizes on singing while engaging areas of the right hemisphere that are still capable of language expression.

  5. Multimodal treatments

    1. Augmentative and alternative communication

    2. Promoting communication effectiveness of people with aphasia

    3. Visual action therapy: this approach teaches patients to use gestures to describe visually absent objects.

  6. Partner approaches

    1. Conversational coaching

    2. Supported communication intervention

  7. Reading treatments

    1. Multiple oral reading

    2. Oral reading for language in aphasia

    3. Supported reading comprehension

  8. Reciprocal scaffolding treatment is conducted in a group setting and addresses communication skills utilizing natural language in meaningful and functional social contexts.

  9. Script training

  10. Syntax treatments

    1. Sentence production programs for aphasia

    2. Treatment of underlying forms

  11. Word-finding treatments

    1. Gestural facilitation naming

    2. Response elaboration training

    3. Semantic feature analysis treatment

    4. Verb network strengthening treatment

    5. Word retrieval cuing strategies


Basic Information about Traumatic Brain Injury. (2019,March 6). Retrieved October 18, 2020, from

Murteira, A., & Santos, M. E. (2013). Language processing in right hemisphere stroke patients: Response speed and quality. Aphasiology, 27(2), 145–156.

Traumatic Brain Injury TBI. (2019, June 25). Retrieved October 18, 2020, from

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