Traumtic brain injury

How we can help people who have had a traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury occurs after injury to the head and affects normal brain function. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and each case differs in complexity.

Speech and language therapy is highly beneficial during recovery from a brain injury and can help the recovery process.

What is traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic brain injury is a result of injury to the head and the complications that follow this injury. For example, a swelling causing pressure to the brain as well as damage through lack of oxygen. Traumatic brain injury can be categorised into closed, open and crushing injuries:

Closed injury

Closed injury is the most common. No break in the skin is visible and occurs when the head is rocked back and forth or rotated rapidly. When this happens there is a delay in the movement of the brain compared to the skull and so nerves and fibres can tear and twist easily in the brain case and lead to extensive damage.

Open injury

An open injury occurs when the brain is exposed and subsequently damaged. An example of this would be a gunshot wound or collision with a sharp object. This injury is often combined with a closed injury, for example during a car accident.

Crushing injuries

Crushing injuries are the least common and can occur when the head is trapped between two hard surfaces. This can lead to nerve damage and damage to the brain stem rather than the brain in isolation.

How is traumatic brain injury diagnosed?

Diagnosis of a brain injury will be done on arrival at the hospital and will involve a multidisciplinary team input. As part of this team, a patient may be seen for an initial assessment of their speech and language. This will depend upon the severity of the injury and may happen after a stay in hospital and revisited on several occasions.

What are the effects of traumatic brain injury?

The effects of a traumatic brain injury can differ from each person depending upon the area of the brain affected and the individual concerned. These effects will range from mild to severe. Possible effects may include:

How does speech and language therapy help traumatic brain injury?

Speech and language therapy can help with the effects of a traumatic brain injury. Speech and language therapy input helps individuals to deal with the difficulties they are experiencing and highlights any areas which need further treatment.

Speech and language therapy for those who have had a traumatic brain injury may improve all areas of communication depending on the difficulty, it may help to increase independence, motivation and confidence of the patient and may improve the patient's quality of life as their skills develop after injury.

What problems caused by traumatic brain injury can SLT UK help with?

SLT UK can help with the problems associated with a traumatic brain injury. Speech and language therapy input will depend upon the severity of the injury and the area of the brain affected. The level of speech and language therapy intervention will be determined by each individual case and discussed accordingly.

Our speech and language therapists can help individuals who have had traumatic brain injury with attention and listening problems, communication problems, swallowing difficulties, voice and speech problems.

What would speech and language therapy treatment for traumatic brain injury involve?

Speech and language therapy treatment for a traumatic brain injury will involve an initial assessment, which will be carried out by one of our speech and language therapists. This will highlight any worries and difficulties a person may have with communication, eating, drinking or swallowing.

Speech and language therapy treatment may include a range of assessments, reports, reviews, therapy programmes, support groups and advice or education.

Treatment will vary depending on the individual. After an initial assessment an individualised treatment plan will be made which will be tailored to the individual’s specific needs and abilities. Specific treatment may include:


Traumatic brain injury is an injury to the head which affects normal brain function. There are three different types of traumatic brain injury and speech and language therapy will differ depending on which type of injury someone has sustained. Speech and language therapy is beneficial in treating the problems of a traumatic brain injury.

If you feel you may benefit from speech and language therapy or would like any more information on our services please email or call 0330 088 5643.

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