Imagine experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic as someone who has a communication or cognitive disorder due to a traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury (or a TBI) is defined as a disruption in the normal functioning of the brain that is caused by an external force to the head. Young adults, ages 15-24, make up roughly 18% of this population. For our pilot study, we created an online survey that contained questions asking participants about their experiences with in-person speech and language services, compared to teletherapy. We asked the participants about their goals, their frequency of services, and to reflect on how teletherapy has impacted their quality of life. Our data revealed responses that we did not anticipate. What stood out to us was not what we explicitly asked, but what they voluntarily shared. The participants reported that although they were still making adequate progress in their goals, teletherapy was not fulfilling the critical social-emotional component of therapy. Social-emotional aspects of therapy were easily addressed through in-person socialization activities and environments. Socialization is crucial for this population to improve overall quality of life and it reinforces and generalizes what is targeted in speech and language therapy. There should be intentional modifications to teletherapy with this population to include opportunities to socialize with peers or others with similar experiences. Furthermore, the responses from the participants of our study will contribute to the ongoing research in social-emotional teletherapy treatment for TBI.
Hong, Christina; Hager, Haley; Loyola, Jessica; and Sundarrajan, Madhu, "Traumatic Brain Injury & Teletherapy" (2021). Three Minute Research (3MR). 21.