Head Injury (Traumatic Brain Injury)

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What to expect

Head Injury (Traumatic Brain Injury)

Traumatic brain injury is a type of acquired brain injury and can result in speech, language, communication and swallowing difficulties. Speech and language therapy is highly beneficial for children with traumatic brain injury in helping to improve and support any difficulties.

What is a traumatic brain injury in children?

Traumatic brain Injury (TBI) is a type of acquired brain injury. TBI occurs as a result of trauma to the head which will result in damage to the brain. TBI can be the result of an object piercing through the skull and damaging the brain tissue or an object violently and suddenly hitting the head.

TBI can affect a childs speech, language, communication and swallowing. The severity and types of problems the child will have depends on the area of the brain affected and the extent of the damage. Speech and language therapy helps to treat and support any speech, language, communication and swallowing difficulties a child with TBI may be experiencing.

What are the symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury in children?

The symptoms of a TBI can vary and can range from mild, moderate to severe. The type of symptoms experienced by a child with TBI will be dependent on the cause of the TBI, the severity of the damage and the area of the brain affected. Symptoms may include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Altered sleeping patterns
  • Behaviour changes
  • Memory problems
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Problems with speech
  • Weakness and problems with coordination
  • Agitation

What problems caused by traumatic brain injury in children can speech and language therapy help with?

Speech and language therapy can help with any speech, language or communication difficulties experienced by a child with TBI. Speech and language therapy can also help eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties caused by TBI.

The problems caused by TBI and the severity of these problems will be dependent on the area of the brain affected and also the extent of damage to the brain. Children with TBI will commonly have communication and cognitive difficulties.

Speech and language therapy can help with:

The effects of TBI in children differ to that of an injured adult. Due to the fact that a childs brain is still developing, the TBI will affect the brains development and its functions.

What causes a traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic brain injury in children can be caused by many different things. Causes include a blow to the head or an object piercing through the skull. Causes can include:

  • Road traffic accidents.
  • Abuse (including shaking a baby).
  • Falls or accidents.
  • Gunshot wounds.

How are speech, language, communication and / eating and drinking difficulties identified in children with traumatic brain injury?

The speech and language therapist will play a key role in identifying speech, language, communication and / eating and drinking difficulties in children following a TBI. The speech and language therapist will provide an initial assessment to determine if a child has any speech, language, communication and / eating and drinking difficulties and also the severity of their difficulty.

An initial assessment will include:

  • A review of the childs medical notes.
  • A case history about the childs previous speech, language, communication and / eating and drinking abilities and any other relevant information.
  • An observation of the childs skills and abilities.
  • A detailed assessment of the childs speech, language and communication skills.
  • A detailed assessment of the childs eating and drinking ability.

How does speech and language therapy help traumatic brain injuries?

Speech and language therapy can be very beneficial for children with TBI. Speech and language therapy can offer rehabilitation for their speech, language, communication and / eating and drinking needs.

Speech and language therapy will focus on regaining and rehabilitating the childs abilities and also providing strategies and techniques to compensate for lost functions.

Speech and language therapy can help to maximise and childs communication and also help them to eat and drink as safely as possible.

Speech and language therapy can help the child to communicate to the best of their ability in their home, school and social environments.

What would speech and language therapy treatment for children with traumatic brain injuries involve?

Speech and language therapy treatment will be individualised for each child and will be tailored to their specific needs and abilities. The type of therapy given will be dependent on the area of the brain affected and also the extent of the damage.

Speech and language therapy may involve working on the childs:

  • Speech.
  • Expressive language (including writing).
  • Receptive language (understanding).
  • Reading ability.
  • Eating, drinking and swallowing.
  • Social skills (including topic maintenance, turn-taking and use and understanding of emotions).
  • Non-verbal communication skills (eye contact, facial expression, gesture and body language)

In more severe cases, where a child has very limited communication, the speech and language therapist may use Alternative and Augmentative Communication to help facilitate the childs communication.

Following an initial assessment an individualised treatment programme will be made, this will be age appropriate for the child. After an initial assessment speech and language therapy treatment may involve:

How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment?

To arrange an assessment with one our speech and language therapists please call 0330 0885 643.

Summary

Traumatic brain Injury (TBI) is a type of acquired brain injury. TBI occurs as a result of trauma to the head which will result in damage to the brain. A speech and language therapist will assess and treat a child with TBI, they will help in the initial and rehabilitation stages of recovery regarding their speech, language, communication and / eating and drinking difficulties. If you feel you or your child may benefit from speech and language therapy please email office@slt.co.uk or call 0330 0885 643.


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To speak to a Speech and Language Therapist or to book an appointment, call us on 0161 883 0111 or email office@slt.co.uk

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