What is a concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) that may cause cognitive, emotional, and/or physical changes. The vast majority of brain injuries (70-90%) are considered "mild". Symptoms typically improve within the first few weeks after the injury. However, approximately 15-20% of individuals experience difficulties past 12 weeks. They may be diagnosed with post-concussion symptoms/syndrome.
Post-Concussion Symptoms may include difficulties with the following:
For many, these post-concussion symptoms don't FEEL mild. They may impact their ability to complete daily tasks, return to work or school, or participate in social activities.
What are cognitive-communication deficits?
Changes in underlying cognitive functioning (i.e. attention, memory, reasoning, executive functioning) affect our ability to communicate effectively and efficiently. This includes understanding information, expressing yourself, reading, writing, and even socializing. These difficulties are called cognitive-communication deficits/difficulties.
So, what do these difficulties look like?
Difficulty concentrating on what is being said, understanding long or complex statements
Trouble following conversation in a group setting
Difficulty understanding jokes or implied information
May misunderstand conversations
VERBAL EXPRESSION AND DISCOURSE
Trouble finding the right word or a good substitute quickly
Difficulty generating ideas or topics of conversation
Difficulty elaborating or having an in-depth conversation
Disorganized conversation, jumping around topics
Vague or missing important details
Difficulty understanding sentences, paragraphs, or long texts
Attending to what is read, need to reread everything twice
Retaining read information over time
Difficulty formulating ideas in writing
Trouble organizing thoughts in writing
May take substantially longer to write as compared to before
PROBLEM-SOLVING, REASONING AND EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING
Difficulty identifying important information and irrelevant information
Trouble generating alternative solutions
Difficulty with planning, organizing, and prioritizing tasks
Struggling with weighing options and decision-making
Trouble with summarizing or identifying the main point
Difficulty perceiving nonverbal cues (gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, body language)
Trouble taking turns, interrupting, or dominating the conversation
Long-winded, rambling or verbose conversation
Tangential or off topic in conversation
Socially inappropriate comments or topics
Are you having difficulty returning to school or work?
Those who experience a concussion or brain injury often report difficulty with returning to work or school.
Studies have shown that 46% report high levels of academic problems after their concussion (Brown et al., 2019; Norman et al., 2019) These difficulties may include paying attention in class, understanding and remembering information from lectures, reading and retaining information from articles and texts, or planning and organizing written work.
After a concussion, 12-30% have difficulties with returning to work (De Koening et al., 2017; Doctor et al., 2005; Bloom et al., 2017).
At work, challenges may include focusing and listening during meetings, reading and editing reports, talking on the phone or during videoconferencing calls, interacting with customers or coworkers, or giving instructions or directions.
How can the Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) at Neuro Connections help?
Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) are uniquely qualified to help people with complex communication issues that often arise as a result of changes in cognitive functioning following a concussion or brain injury.
At Neuro Connections, our Speech-Language Pathologists provide tailored assessments and personalized treatment plans that include:
Direct training and practice
Ongoing feedback and support
Communication partner training
Metacognitive strategy instruction
Everyone has different school or work-related duties, relationships, home and family responsibilities, and community and recreational activities.
Therefore, everyone’s treatment plan looks different.
We incorporate the principles of neuroplasticity in order to optimize rehabilitation and recovery to achieve the greatest outcomes.
If you're not sure if you or your loved one is experiencing cognitive or communication difficulties, complete the Cognitive-Communication Checklist for Acquired Brain Injury (CCCABI) here
The CCCABI is a referral tool designed to help flag communication difficulties after brain injury that require a referral to a Speech-Language Pathologist and does not replace a thorough SLP assessment or provide a diagnosis.
Or, take our quick cognitive-communication screener and schedule a 15 minute free consultation with Danielle to discuss your concerns, answer your questions, and advise how we can help.
Contact us today at email@example.com to learn more. Servicing all individuals in Ontario through teletherapy and in person in the Greater Toronto Area.
For more information on the SLPs role in cognitive-communication, see CASLPO's (College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario) Practice Standards and Guidelines for Acquired Cognitive-Communication Disorders. .http://www.caslpo.com/sites/default/uploads/files/PSG_EN_Acquired_Cognitive_Communication_Disorders.pdf
Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC) describes the role of Speech-Language Pathologists in Concussion Management.
The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) has developed guidelines for the management of persisting symptoms of concussion/mTBI. Speech-Language Pathologists were involved in the development of these guidelines.
The Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA) offers concussion support groups as well as a free concussion hotline 1-800-263-5405.