Medical Monday: Speech Language Pathologists Help Treat Traumatic Brain Injuries

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 2:10 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Traumatic brain injuries can impact many different aspects of people’s lives. Robby Desjardins, Speech language pathologist at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital, says some of the symptoms patients experience may lead to a recommendation to see a speech language pathologist.

Desjardins says, “You know most often people have complaints of having had a foggy, a foggy way of thinking, foggy brain. You know especially after covid, but you know more traditionally you know you have kids who are have played sports or you’ve had adults who have had a car accident. You know and they may have hit their head even a little bit; complaining of having more concentration difficulty at work, can’t get regular tasks done that they normally get done. So they’ll report that to their primary care. The primary care provider will often send us a referral in speech therapy. But also all therapies; occupational, physical therapy, us so that we can pretty much triage and look at the whole person and decide from there what they need.”

According to Desjardins there are a few ways a speech language pathologist can help people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Desjardins adds, “A speech pathologist can do, uh involve all parts of the brain. So that’s your cognition, that’s your speech, that’s your understanding, your swallowing. Some people after a traumatic brain injury can not eat regular foods. They might have to have their foods in a different way. Their swallowing mechanism doesn’t work the same way. Sometimes it’s their voice that doesn’t work the same way. So what we would do is evaluate the whole person based on what their needs are.”

Desjardins adds therapy is a collaboration of work physically at the appointment and the work that can be done at home to receive the full benefits.

According to Desjardins, “So whenever someone comes to therapy and their working on a particular goal whether it’s memory. We identify what are some memory strategies that you can do and use at home to make your every day life easier. So if that includes putting up signs, using notes, keeping your important documents and important day to day things in the same place all the time, your wallet, your keys. So try to simplify and organize the way that a person does things.”

If you think you may have suffered from a traumatic brain injury, contact your primary care physician.