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Neuro Rehab Blog

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2135 Charlotte St., Suite 3, Bozeman, MT 59718

Phone: 406.586.8030 | Fax: 406.586.8036

Following a Concussion: Why Should I See a Speech Therapist When I Have No Problem Speaking

Posted On: 08/31/2020

Why would I see a Speech Pathologist, a.k.a. Speech Therapist following my concussion?

The word speech therapy brings to mind therapy to improve speech or how we talk. Speech-Language Pathologists treat individuals who have difficulty saying words (speech) and also treat those who have difficulty getting their thoughts into words, whether it be verbal or written. They also treat individuals who have difficulty understanding information including what they hear or read. But, many speech-language pathologists are trained and have experience in doing much more.

If you think about it, we think in words. Speech therapists treat individuals who are having difficulty with their thinking skills or cognition. The areas of cognition most commonly affected by concussions include the following:

  • speed of processing
  • attention/concentration/mental focus
  • memory
  • executive functioning skills

The latter, executive functioning skills, encompasses identifying goals as simple as:

  • a to-do list for the day
  • making decisions
  • reasoning
  • problem solving
  • time management
  • knowing the steps involved to complete a task
  • initiation of tasks
  • completion of tasks
  • self-assessment - being able to identify what went well, what did not go well
  • generate ideas to make it better next time
  • mental flexibility
  • emotional regulation/impulse control

Speech therapy for those whose cognition has been affected by a concussion likely will include an assessment to determine the areas affected. This should include information about the person’s background, the areas of difficulty they are noting and standardized testing of attention, speed of processing, memory, and executive functioning skills. Standardized testing are tests that have been administered to thousands of people in order to compare how individuals function in these areas compared to others in their age group with similar backgrounds. Finally, an assessment should establish goals, skills, or functional tasks the person would like to improve. An example would be the ability to pay attention in busy environments without being distracted.

The treatment includes:

  1. Education regarding areas of difficulty, the effects of concussion on cognition, and ways to promote recovery.
  2. Development of compensatory strategies - systems of how to do things in order to function better during recovery.
  3. Restorative activities - exercises to improve cognitive functioning.

As you see, speech therapy does a lot more than helping someone speak.

For more information about speech therapy following a concussion or if speech therapy may be beneficial to you, please contact Neuro Rehab Associates, Inc. at neurorehabboz@gmail.com or 406-586-8030.