The Importance of Speech
Re-learning to talk after my brain injury was a tremendously difficult and arduous feat. What few people realize is that, because of my circumstances, Speech-Language Pathologists were often my greatest ally and adversaries throughout the recovery process. So when I received an email from a student at NYC Long Island University inquiring about my experience, I had to respond and communicate that journey verbally!
Holding the Key to Rehabilitation and Recovery
Throughout my recovery journey, the inabilities to breathe, walk, and talk on my own were extremely difficult. But worse than all other things, was the inability to eat.
When you are unable to eat for months, primal instincts override rationality. Your emotions and desire for food get the better of you all the time…it’s all you can think about. Even worse, your brain and body depend on nutrition to fuel the rehabilitative work you’re doing. Knowing this fact, emaciated, underweight, and starving, I was the definition of “hangry” (Angry Hungry), and it was often my SLP who held the keys to my ability to eat.
I want to thank Diana for her email and questions on this subject, and I hope this quick interview helps to bring about a better understanding of speech-language pathology and how that changed my journey.
See/hear the podcast with my SLP: Kathryn Hayes:
Episode 43 – Speech, Language, and Neurology
See my post about my tracheal resection surgery adventure:
The Tracheal Resection Surgery That Gave Me My Voice Back: Slitting My Throat to Save My Life
Speech-Language Pathology – The TBI Patient Perspective
Wow! This is so inspirational! I am writing a novel and one of the characters suffered a TBI and is recovering. He is a young man of only 17 and your perspective really helped me develop this character! I would love to hear more from you if you’re interested in helping me with the book! [email protected]
Sounds great! If you’d like to have a convo, you can do so at this link: https://adventuresinbraininjury.com/consult. 🙂
My son was hit by a car on August 29, 2017. He is doing really well, but his biggest frustration is that he only says one phrase over and over whether that’s what he means to say or not. It hurts seeing this brilliant soon to be 16 getting so angry and giving up on saying anything else. Any advice would be wonderful.
I’m so sorry to hear about your son, and I’m so glad that he’s doing well despite the challenges. Remember that he is only a little over a month out. This is a very important time period, so if you’d like to connect so that I can get a better picture of your situation, you can schedule a free initial conversation at https://adventuresinbraininjury.com/consult.
My husband had hit a young boy and was in coma for 2 days..he is out of the hdu and being fed liquids by mouth. He is not talking but responds only when you call his name. He is weak and cannot sit on his own..he had a head injury…will he be able to talk again and walk?
As I say often, no two brain injuries are the same. It’s going to be a long journey, but I am constantly impressed with the power of the mind, coupled with love and support. When a flower is wilting and shriveling up, improve its environment. Give the brain the best possible environment to flourish, and it will do it’s best to heal.
My daughter suffered an acquired brain injury after a bout with encephalitis and meningitis. She was 15 at the time and just turned 17 in November. She was a brilliant A-Honor student. She played the cello for 6 yrs. She was truly amazing. Now she has cognitive disabilities and is considered “special needs” with an IEP. She has lost her motivation and drive. To see how clearly you can express yourself is amazing, as word finding and aphasia are two of her primary difficulties. She is in speech therapy twice a week. Is there any activity or diet that you would recommend for further cognitive rehabilitation?
I would love to learn more and to work with you. Go ahead and pick up my new book for nutritional guidance (https://feedabrain.com/book), and send me an email at [email protected] (write CONSULT in the subject to ensure it doesn’t get lost). Young brains are amazing, which is why I’m very hopeful that we can make some huge strides with your daughter.
son had tumor removed. six months prior,top teeth removed,snap in denture.spent like to use denture. between both occourances,he can’t construct sentences. very few if any words are understood. also doesn’t eat very much.it’s going to be a challenge.
That sounds challenging. What kind of tumor did he have removed?
Hi Cavin, I would like to firstly thank you for sharing your experience with us all.
I have had a very challenging 7 years or so myself, firstly my Fiancee (we were together for 11 years) suffered a basal ganglia stroke and was left with locked in syndrome. The Dr’s gave us no hope but after pushing and fighting he walked out from shenton park rehabilitation centre. We was together for another 4 years but sadly drifted apart.
My Fiance now 2 years ago had a heart attack and due to resuscitation has a hypoxic brain injury. His speech and swallow over the last 6 months has become very weak and has aspirated just after xmas. I would love if you can give me any guidance on how I can possibly start to make his myscles stronger, sometimes he wont chew his food, which is a big concern. But due to the braon injury, sometimes he wont register that he has food in his mouth.
I was thinking maybe his throat and mouth muscles are becoming weaker, hence also the inability to talk like a year ago. He does physio 3 times a weak 1 speech session a week and 1 OT a week which is all private. I have just signed him up to possibly do neuro physics also 2-3 times a week but we are still waiting for them to become available.
Any help or advice would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance
Thank you for reaching out, and thank you so much for the kind words! I’m sorry to hear about your loved ones. I would imagine that the problem does not originate in the muscles, but in the brain. I would be happy to schedule a discovery call with you. I’ll send you an email where you can schedule.
Thank you again!
Your story is fanominal I am trying to find help for my brother of 37 he had an abscess in his brain I believe it came from an abscesses tooth that never was treated right well right now he’s in his room can’t eat ,talks little , forgets how to walk but his legs work also he is in there all the way he just can’t talk I’m trying to find him help the right help and a place that will take him on . What do I do he has nursing . Right now he’s stretcher transport a lot of facilities give us a hard time about that . He wants to walk , talk , and eat , I just tried to give him some soup because he wanted to , He couldn’t I had to take it out . How can I get someone to help him get better. We’re from Jersey and he has horizon N.J insurance. Help me help him please.
I will make the time to connect with you to see if I can help. You should receive a direct message from me soon.
Hi Cavin. . My daughter is 12 and was involved in an accident on their way to school on the 11 April 2018. She has a brain injury. She has been taken off the ventilator and breathing for herself. She has started responding by opening her eyes and crying especially when we call out her name. How long will it take for her to regain her speech and start walking again.
Love this article!
I am an SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) who suffered a mild TBI (concussion) last year and that has opened my eyes and given me the ability to have better information and treatment planning for my patients!
Awesome! Let me know how I can support you, Sara!
Hi Calvin…you’re recovery is phenomenal and you sharing your journey is inspirational! My niece suffered a DAI 3 years ago….hospitalized for 14 months…still has G-tube, but eats/drinks 95% by mouth…makes sound when inhaling with good tone ( donkey laugh!) but no speech yet. New home health SLP not doing much as of yet…any thoughts/suggestions/resources? Wishing you continued success!
Thank you so much, Jen! Send me an email at [email protected] to request a free discovery call. Remind me of who you and your niexe are, and let’s see if it makes sense for us to work together.
My 55 year old son had a car accident on Feb. 27,2018 he has a TBI.. he can’t walk, talk or eat he is currently on a feeding tube.. On occasion he can tolerate broth and maybe a little water.. How long does it take for him to be able to speak he spoke spontaneously a few times but won’t continue to speak.. He can write his name , date of birth and his wife’s name if you ask him. What could be stopping him from speaking and is there anything I can do to encourage or help him to speak
Please contact me here and request a discovery call here: [email protected]
Calvin, Is there anything I can do to help my son speak..He’s 55 years old has a TBI from a car accident on February 27,2018..He spoke a few times they said its spontaneous speaking. For example he was scratching his head and I asked him what he was doing and he answered that he was scratching his head. Also someone said hello and he asked how is your day going . Its been 3 weeks now since he said anything.. What can I do to help ?
Your articles are very informative
Hi Cavin I wanna say your story gives me hope that my son will recover soon he was in a car accident Oct 2017 dr says he would be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life and was in coma for a while was on a breathing tube for a while and is now breathing on his own he is in a rehab center were he is learning to hygiene him self,a and a lil of physical therapy he is on a feeding tube and don’t walk or speak would love to know wat kinds of things I as his mother can work with him to help his recovery thank you for taking the time to read my post God bless
Please contact me and request a discovery call: [email protected]
Dear Cavin, my boyfriend went through a craniotomy and cranioplasty. Almost 3 months ago he had an aneurysm, completely different case. But my biggest frustration is that he can’t talk and looks like he is far away. Do you think personally that he can still come out?
Thank you very much
Please contact me and request a discovery call: [email protected]
My dad has treament on brain anerusym and it was very gud…bt he cant talk properly what to do?..plz help me..
Hi! Let’s have a conversation. You can schedule here: https://feedabrain.com/consult
Hi Cavin, my husband suffered a TBI due to being shot twice in the head in November 2017. Doctors gave him a very low survival chance. He beat all the odds! In fact was discharged 3 months after with no swallowing problems what so ever, no pain, he hasn’t had a change in his mood etc. He seems his complete normal self except he lost ALL of his speech. He now can only say “yeah”. He seems to understand everything and everyone 99% of the time. He mostly communicates with shaking/nodding his head and pointing to things or saying “yeah”. He also has right side hemiplegia(he can’t move his right arm/leg) if you have any advice on how I can help him progress on his recovery we’d appreciate it!
Your comment seemed to have gotten buried as I was switching websites on feedabrain.com. It’s amazing to hear of your husband’s progress! I’d love to see how much further we can go. You can schedule a conversation with me: https://feedabrain.com/consult
My grandson fell 100 ft and had 10 surgeries in a week. He later had his scalp open to release pressure on the brain. This happened in Nov. 2016 he was 17. Doctors never thought he would live or even open his eyes. If he did they said he would be a vegetable and unable to walk,talk, eat drink or even breath on his own. Today he walks but has balance issues and walks a bit off. He eats and drinks, talks and thinks. However his speech is poor and his day to day memory isn’t good. It’s onlybeen 2 years and4 months. He still has one on one training but as far as a SLP we haven’t found anyone he really connects with that made speech worth the trips. Also he caughs a lot when drinking. Sometimes more then in the past. He has also had several drink test. They say he has improved but I’m not sure. Can you give us any suggestions on what might help his speech and memory or is time the answer?
It sounds like your grandson and I have a whole lot in common. In my experience, time is rarely the answer. Time goes by whether you do something with it or not, so let’s do something with the time! Perhaps I can help. If you’d like, I can offer my experience, knowledge, and connections in a discovery call to see how we can bring about the best possible outcome. I’d love to connect with you about your situation with your grandson. You can schedule here: https://adventuresinbraininjury.com/consult.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Hi Cavin, my then 35 year old son was hit by a car walking across the street. I didn’t want to let him go, but now I think differently. There is no worse decision a human being can ever face. If you turn off life support, you will never know, if you don’t, and now they are suffering, you wish you had.
I can only imagine how difficult that decision must have been. I am glad you are at peace. I believe that he is at peace as well, and WHO he is lives on.
My Mother suffered TBI ,her left brain is completly injured and had surgery on very same day . She also has Cranatomy done. This happened in 16th Dec 2018. Doctors never thought she would live or even open his eyes. If she did they said she would be a unable to walk,talk, eat drink or even breath on his own. Today she walks but has balance issues and walks a bit off. She eats and drinks However her speech is very poor , she speaks single phrase but thinks she is saying completly correct and her day to day memory isn’t good. We haven’t found anyone who can help us out. Can you give us any suggestions on what might help her speech and memory ?
My Mother suffered TBI ,her left brain is completly injured and had surgery on very same day . She also has Cranatomy done. This happened in 16th Dec 2018. Doctors never thought she would live or even open his eyes. If she did they said she would be a unable to walk,talk, eat drink or even breath on his own. Today she walks but has balance issues and walks a bit off. She eats and drinks However her speech is very poor , she speaks single phrase but thinks she is saying completly correct and her day to day memory isn’t good. We haven’t found anyone who can help us out. Can you give us any suggestions on what might help her speech and memory ? As well her behaviour has become like 1yr baby, she cries all time and becoming voilent day by day.
I am sure there is much that can be done. I would need to understand much more, so let’s have a discovery call. You can fill out this form and then schedule with me.:) https://adventuresinbraininjury.com/consult