Date Approved

10-21-2013

Date Posted

4-20-2014

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Special Education

Committee Member

Ana Claudia Harten, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Chair

Committee Member

Bill Cupples, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Committee Member

Sheila Bentrum, M.A., CCC-SLP

Abstract

Previous studies have associated traumatic brain injury (TBI) with higher rates of psychiatric disorders. This study investigated speech-language pathologists’ (SLPs) perspectives on the prevalence of co-occurring psychiatric disorders in the TBI population and its impact on speech-language treatment. Interviews were conducted with twelve SLPs working with a TBI population. Results revealed a lack of standard measures to assist SLPs in distinguishing between the symptoms of psychiatric disorders versus the neuropsychiatric symptoms of TBI. Also, results indicated the heavy reliance on a multidisciplinary team to provide comprehensive and individualized treatment for the TBI clientele, and the negative consequences of untreated psychiatric disorders on both the SLP’s presentation of treatment and the client’s response to treatment. The data presented here are a valuable source of information for SLPs anticipating field work with a TBI population, as they discuss clinical implications associated with the co-occurrence of psychiatric disorders in this population. The data also suggest directions for future research on the impact of psychiatric disorders on treatment for the TBI population.

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