Posted on January 28, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 5 of 12 in the series Betty

Speech Therapy for Brain Injury: Betty Part Five

Perhaps because historically the speech therapy for brain injury issues after brain damage were among the most obvious, much of the hardcore cognitive rehabilitation after severe brain injury falls into the gamut of speech pathologists.  Betty received both speech therapy for brain injury and occupational therapy.  She particularly liked her OT.

Occupational therapy, that was, that was one of my favorites because I loved working with clay, making bowls.  I did cross stitch, a lot of other projects I did when I was in occupational therapy that helped eye‑hand coordination.

Betty describes a love hate relationship with speech therapy for brain injury, hating it because it reflected the image of her deficits so clearly to her, but now so thankful for the level of care she got.

I hated it but I love – I hated it but it helped me. I felt that I was being treated as an 8 year old and I didn’t, I, and I didn’t feel that I needed it.  I – well, to this point I still don’t see fully my deficits but it’s something I have to live with.

She describes  her speech therapy for brain injury:

First off, she would have me – she would bring in a book, you know, a simplified, like a grade school book and have me read it and I would read that and try to figure out what was going on in the story and sometimes I would get confused even though it was a simplified story.  But we would stop and then the speech pathologist would say well, what just happened and if, if I needed to I would write it down so I would have a note of it and then we would continue on in the story.  And then by the end of the story we would put it altogether and we’d have a synopsis of what I had just read but that was something that I needed help with and writing those two papers for school was very difficult and the speech pathologist helped me immensely on that because I would go from one subject to another without any continuity in what I was writing.



The benefits of speech therapy for brain injury:

It was through speech therapy for brain injury that Betty learned the skills to reintegrate herself into the outside world.


Well, it’s – she did not – she didn’t treat me mean or was nasty to me but it was something that she had to go to get my brain working or operating in an adult level and it’s something that I needed to do and some of these exercises I thought well I did these way back when.  But when I started doing them I found that I had difficulty and then at that point I was able to tell her I’m having trouble with this, could you help me?  And I think that opened up a big door because at that point she knew that I was open to change and open to the help that she was there to give and I think that improved my rehabilitation and my cognitive thinking immensely.


And without speech therapy for brain injury:

I would probably right now be at my mom and dad’s house collecting disability, probably doing nothing.

Betty is able to finish college with the benefits of speech therapy for brain injury

Speech therapy for brain injury and other disability assistance helped her complete her last semester of college. With professional assistance, she persevered and obtained her diploma.  Such was not an easy process, including being asked to leave one program.  She asked the professor so many questions it became clear she wasn’t understanding the curriculum.


I was already a licensed hygienist as I said in Wisconsin and Louisiana and I had just general curriculum 12 credits to complete and I started out at Cardinal Stritch, was there for three weeks and the instructor called my mother and asked to take me out.


I needed a lot of help.  All the classes I took I was given help.  As I said I started at Cardinal Stritch and they asked me to leave so that was kind of tough.  I was disrupting the class a lot.  I kept asking a lot of questions and the teacher just felt that I was not understanding what she was saying.

I was released from the hospital the end of January.  I would say the following September was when I went to school.  My mother did take me out to WCTC or it was WCTI at the time.  It has a big special needs department and I worked with two instructors in there.

I had two 5,000 word papers that I had to complete for Loyola.  One was on John Dunn.  I don’t remember picking that subject, John Dunn, and the other one was on retail store franchise dentistry which was just starting back then in 82.  So they also helped me write those two papers.


I never went back to New Orleans except I did get permission from the dean of the school to complete the bachelor of science classes that I needed to take.  I got permission from the dean to complete those.  I completed them up here at UWW and they have a big special needs department there and then in 1986 my mom and I flew down to New Orleans and I picked up my bachelor of science degree.


For Part Six, click here.


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447