Social communication disorders are one of the most common and yet most under-addressed sequelae of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Yet speech and language therapists report a lack of assessment tools and a lack of time to fully assess these issues. This paper describes a review of the existing literature to discuss the range and availability of assessment tools to evaluate social communication. Formal measures cited in each article were extracted, and compared to prefiltered evidence, resulting in a list of 144 measures. A total of 42 measures met the inclusion criteria for social communication or social cognition measures and were read and coded to extract data (including classification characteristics, psychometric variables, usage characteristics).
Results found that 64% of tools assessed social cognition, and the remaining 36% assessed communication. Of the social cognition tools, most were performance-based (74%), while communication tools were clinician reported (33%), self/other reported (33%) and performance-based (33%).
The authors propose that more training about social cognition and the impact is needed to support implementation of the large number of available assessment tools by clinical SLTs. However, a lack of availability of tools remains an ongoing barrier. The authors of this review identified seven tools that were available, designed for people with TBI, and ecologically valid. These included Discourse Analysis, the FAVRES, La Trobe Communication Questionnaire, Montreal Evaluation of Communication, the Profile of Pragmatic Impairments in Communication, Social Communication Questionnaire and Social Skills Questionnaire for TBI. The authors advocate that SLTs must become more familiar with available assessment tools in order to more appropriately plan interventions that actually address the needs of this population