How Speech-Language Therapists Work with People with Brain Injury

When meeting a new patient with TBI, SLPs do both an formal evaluation — standardized cognitive and language tests and an informal evaluation — an in-depth interview with the person to hear what difficulties they are facing in their day-to-day life.

If somebody came into my office with a mild TBI, the very first thing I focus on is both formal and informal assessment. And so by formal assessment, I mean we have a number of standardized tests that we can pull from, and they help us kind of narrow down. Okay, what are some of the areas that this person seems to be having trouble with? We also do an extensive interview with that person because, really, the most important thing is what difficulties are they having and they experiencing in their own day-to-day life, and how can we help them with that. So we really need to understand, and we ask them, "Talk me through a typical day. Where are things breaking down? What's going on with you?" And we really need to get to know our patients very well in order to kind of find some of that information out. As well as we do informal observation with our-- You know, kind of just watching, noticing those little things that clinicians pick up on after having done this for a while. So, for example, you know, does the person remember your name by the end of the session? Or do they, you know, remember how to get back out to the lobby from your office? You know, all these little things that you kind of pay attention to that may be indicative of some difficulty. So, every patient that we have, we start out with that type of foundation, and from that, we build.
Posted on BrainLine July 19, 2012.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough, Brian King, and Jared Schaubert, BrainLine.