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The Functional Manifestations of a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

presented by Patricia K. Youngman, MS, CCC-SLP

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Target Audience:

Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Patricia Youngman receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.

Non-Financial: Patricia Youngman has no competing non-financial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Accreditation Check:

This course is for rehabilitation therapists treating adults in an outpatient setting. The presenter is a speech-language pathologist, although the information covered may be useful for other disciplines as well. It is designed to identify the conditions under which the diagnosis of "mild" traumatic brain injury is used, to demonstrate how the term is not an accurate identifier of the impact of this injury, and to familiarize clinicians with the unique characteristics of adults with a diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury/concussion. Areas addressed are the cognitive/communication deficits, behavioral/emotional changes and responses, and physical, social, and vocational issues that may arise, as well as the impact of such an injury upon the individual's family unit. An initial case study will introduce the multiple areas of change in the life of one individual with this diagnosis. At the end of the second and third chapters, the case study of another individual will demonstrate how the deficits and losses reviewed were functionally manifested in her day-to-day life. The course will end with an interview of an individual eight years post mild traumatic brain injury, documenting her recovery process and experiences.

Meet Your Instructor

Patricia K. Youngman, MS, CCC-SLP

Patricia K. Youngman is a speech/language pathologist, certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and licensed in the state of Washington. Her professional background includes working as a speech-language pathologist in the public schools, acute care and rehabilitation hospital units, and skilled nursing facilities, and providing home health care speech-language services to individuals who were homebound.…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Use of the Term “Mild” – What Does This Mean?

This chapter provides other terms that are currently used interchangeably with “mild traumatic brain injury.” Incidence figures are given for the United States, with an explanation of why it is difficult to know actual numbers for this group. The most accepted definition of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is provided, with an explanation of how it was developed. Common mechanisms of injury are reviewed, with information provided about some of the most clinically unique aspects of this population of individuals, including the lack of any “hard” evidence that exists when the diagnosis is given. The chapter ends with a case study review of one patient (Ann) with the diagnosis of mTBI, examining the many areas of functioning in which she experienced deficits and changes. A contrast is provided between the level of impairment she experienced functionally, and clinical use of the term “mild.”

2. Functional Manifestations of Cognitive/Communication and Behavioral/Emotional Losses

This chapter will review and define typical cognitive/communication changes, noting ways in which the deficits can be functionally manifested on a day-to-day basis to familiarize the clinician with what to look and listen for. Additionally, we'll review behavioral/emotional issues and discuss the importance of recognizing when a referral to a counselor may be appropriate. The information reviewed will provide a window into the life of adults learning to adapt to the many layers of change they are experiencing. It ends with a case study of an actual patient (Mary) with mild traumatic brain injury, briefly covers her neuropsychological assessment results, and looks at what her life looked like post-injury in terms of cognition, communication, and behavioral/emotional functioning.

3. Functional Manifestations of Physical, Social, and Vocational Issues, as well as the Effects on The Family Unit

This chapter will explore the physical changes that are common post mild traumatic brain injury. It will look into the social effects and the common ways in which all of the kinds of changes discussed thus-far in the presentation may impact an individual’s employment. Financial implications are considered. The family unit is covered with particular attention given to how a spouse is impacted. The manner in which a mild brain injury can change a marriage becomes apparent through the discussion. A review is provided of the kinds of team members who can assist in moving the mild traumatic brain injury patient forward to the most complete and successful resolution possible. This chapter ends with a continuation of the examination of the patient from Chapter Two (Mary), exploring the impacts of her brain injury in terms of physical changes, social losses, and the effects on her job. Specific implications for her family life are covered.

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