Thursday May 09, 2024

Chantelle Hutchinson: Supporting Adult AAC Users with Acquired Brain Injuries

This week, we share Rachel’s interview with Chantelle Hutchinson (@dysphagiacommunity)! Chantelle is a Speech-Language Pathologist who works with adults with acquired brain injury and progressive neurological conditions. She shares about some of the factors that make working with clients with acquired brain injuries, like traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke, unique, including: how AAC needs can be different, the impact of frequently changing communication partners, the value of getting to know the client before writing goals, and more!


Before the interview, Chris and Rachel chat about why podcasting should be considered and supported more often as a form of professional development. When we make education more engaging, it leads to better outcomes and retention!


Key Ideas This Week:


🔑 Some people who have a TBI or stroke may not understand that they are communicating differently or their communication partner is not understanding. This can impact buy-in, because the client may not see much need for the device if they are not aware of the communication breakdowns.


🔑 We don’t always target building awareness about communication breakdowns for a client with a TBI or stroke. It takes a balance, because if a client is totally unaware, it can impact their ability to know when to use strategies (like AAC), but being highly aware of communication difficulties may lead to lower mental health outcomes overall.


🔑 A therapist working with TBI and stroke needs to keep in mind the client’s cognitive profile -  some may never get to the point where they can initiate a conversation, no matter how much you practice the skill. In that situation, try and consider if the client’s needs are being met naturally and how you can best support them given their cognitive profile.


Links from This Week’s Episode:


Talking Mats:


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