Research has shown that many traumatic brain injuries are sustained before the age of 25. This article aims to examine the need for speech and language support for students with traumatic brain injury (TBI) beyond the issues a student may face in relation to academic performance. The authors propose a framework to guide speech and language therapists (SLTs) in their clinical practice in this area and explore specific strategies that may assist. In this study recordings from interviews with three adolescent males who had sustained a previous TBI were transcribed and analysed using a grounded theory approach. The six themes identified that had a substantial impact beyond academic performance were: poor community awareness of TBI; the invisible nature of TBI; getting back to everyday life, planning to return to education, being accepted; and adjusting to long-term changes. The authors propose adapting a previous model proposed by Mealing and Douglas (2010) describing students experiences to become a dynamic framework for treatment practices for SLTs. The model includes three domains; self-concept, social supports and changes: personal and environmental. Self-concept includes areas such as identity, self-esteem, personal characteristics, adjustment and connections to educational or vocational goals which impact on the individual’s ability to participate in their everyday life. The authors provide examples from the research literature illustrating the role of the SLT in each of the three domains. The article concludes with a suggestion that professionals may achieve better outcomes by prioritising this type of approach developed from what young people with TBI have themselves highlighted as areas of need. All health professionals endeavour to provide a person-centred approach in working with their clients in rehabilitation. This model is a useful method of structuring this –and by discussing the relevant literature under the domain headings the authors have proposed a useful method of integrated evidence based practice at the same time.

Beyond academic performance: practice implications for working with students following traumatic brain injury.
Mealings M, Douglas J, Olver J.
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Anna Volkmer

UCL, London, UK.

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