A brain injury can be acquired in many ways. Most commonly known are Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) which are caused by an open or closed head injury damaging one or more areas of the brain. Brain injuries can also be caused by a stroke, a lack of oxygen to the brain, loss of consciousness or a brain tumor. Symptoms of brain injuries are unique in each individual and can include loss of cognitive abilities (memory, attention, orientation, etc.), speech impairments and physical dysfunction.
At ITA, therapists take an individualized approach when working with clients who are living with a brain injury. The creative arts therapies can be used to improve associated symptoms through interactive art-making experiences designed and adapted to emphasize each client’s strengths. Sensory stimulation through the arts promotes increased attention, while the creation of a story or a song can be used to memorize and recall personal information. Neurologic Music Therapy techniques are utilized to promote rehabilitation of speech and motor abilities through active instrument play, singing and movement to music.
ITA therapists have worked at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago providing music, drama and art therapy in individual and group sessions. Specific groups are facilitated for adults with Traumatic Brain Injuries addressing cognitive and communicative goals. Additional groups serve adults with Aphasia addressing speech articulation, word retrieval, interpersonal communication and coping abilities. ITA therapists take a collaborative approach and conduct sessions with speech therapists, occupational therapists and physical therapists in a co-treatment model. Sessions are also conducted in-house with children and adults who have suffered a stroke or brain injury.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injury:
From the DSM-5:
Traumatic Brain Injury: ‘Major or mild NCD due to traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by an impact to the head, or other mechanisms of rapid movement or displacement of the brain within the skull, as can happen with blast injuries. Traumatic brain injury is defined as brain trauma with specific characteristics that include at least one of the following: loss of consciousness, posttraumatic amnesia, disorientation and confusing, or, in more severe cases, neurological signs (e.g., positive neuroimaging, a new onset of seizures or a marked worsening of a preexisting seizure disorder, visual field cut, anosmia, hemiparesis). To be attributable to TBI, the NCD must present either immediately after the brain injury occurs or immediately after the individual recovers consciousness after the injury and persist past the acute post-injury period.’
Posttraumatic amnesia due to brain injury: ‘Amnesia may occur in the context of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) where there has been an impact to the head or other mechanisms of rapid movement or displacement of the brain within the skull TBI. Other characteristics of TBI include loss of consciousness, disorientation and confusion, or, in more severe cases, neurological signs (e.g., abnormalities on neuroimaging, a new onset of seizures or a marked worsening of a preexisting seizure disorder, visual field cutes, anosmia). A neurocognitive disorder attributable to TBI must present either immediately after brain injury occurs or immediately after the individual recovers consciousness after the injury, and persist past the acute post-injury period. The cognitive presentation of a neurocognitive disorder following TBI is variable and includes difficulties in the domains of complex attention, executive function, learning and memory as well as slowed speed of information processing and disturbances in social cognition. These additional features help distinguish it from dissociative amnesia.’
American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Neurocognitive Disorders (624-627). Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Dissociative Disorders (301). Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
Disclaimer: Due to the nature of this post, this information is meant to be inform and not serve as a diagnosis for communication disorders. If you believe you or someone you know need help in regards to a communication disorder, please seek out a doctor or professional for a proper diagnosis.