Intensive Cognitive and Communication Rehabilitation
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is an insult to the brain caused by external forces, such as a car accident or fall, that may impair the cognitive domains of attention, memory, and/or reasoning. Aphasia is a language disorder caused by a stroke or other injury to the brain’s communication networks that results in speaking, listening, reading, and/or writing impairments.
The Intensive Cognitive-Communication Rehabilitation (ICCR) program is a 15-week intensive therapy program for young adults with TBI or aphasia, who are interested in continuing or pursuing higher education. ICCR integrates classroom-style lectures with individual and group therapy to capitalize on the following principles of neural plasticity: intensity, specificity, repetition, and salience.
A program like ICCR is sorely needed for the young ABI population. These individuals want to return to school but need to strengthen their cognitive-linguistic skills in a structured and encouraging environment before they can succeed in a typical classroom. ICCR takes a functional approach, allowing students to get much-needed practice implementing strategies that will be relevant in a university setting, and to do so in a supportive, slower-paced environment. Simultaneously, ICCR utilizes impairment-based treatment, providing students with direct therapy for specific cognitive-linguistic goal areas. Both impairment-based and functionally-based treatment paradigms have been shown to improve communication skills after brain injury in an intensive environment; ICCR unifies the two. For this reason, we believe ICCR will result in positive outcomes for our students and will allow them to achieve their goals of returning to an academic setting in the future.
Every day includes academic courses in topics typically offered in the first semesters of a liberal arts education. This semester, we offer Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Economics, Personal Finance, and US History. Students utilize a blackboard-style webpage for video lectures, class notes, and other therapeutic resources. Class discussions use the academic content as a vehicle to support cognitive-linguistic growth. By engaging in this intensive classroom environment, with support and meta-cognitive training, students learn to be successful in the classroom with their brain injury and/or aphasia.
Each student participates in one hour of weekly speech and language therapy sessions, which are specifically-tailored to address each student’s area of need. The therapist works with them individually on tasks to address the speech, language, and cognitive skills required to meet their goals of returning to the academic setting. They have been provided a Skill Book, which includes a calendar, schedule, detailed descriptions of strategies to facilitate learning and practical applications.
Following classes, the students participate in computer-guided work to address their cognitive-linguistic skills. This includes systematic app-based therapy, and supported practice with other technology, such as creating a word document, checking email, and reviewing lecture material on the internet.
ICCR integrates the strongest elements of evidence-based practice into one comprehensive program to target cognitive-linguistic goals at all levels. From individual sessions to group therapy, from the computer to the classroom, we hope to provide students with the skills and tools necessary to set their own goals and then to achieve them.