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What is a Brain Injury?

There are many causes of brain injury, each impacting our lives and overall health in different ways.  An acquired brain injury is an umbrella term for an injury that occurs to a healthy, normally developing brain. An acquired brain injury consists of two different subcategories: traumatic and non-traumatic brain injuries.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by an external force and alters how the brain functions. A TBI can be caused by impact (car accidents, falls, physical abuse, sports injuries, etc., or by inertial forces (for instance, whiplash so severe that the brain moves within the skull).

Acquired brain injury also known as non-traumatic brain injury, which means the damage can’t be linked to any external physical force to the head. A non-traumatic brain injury is a bit of an oxymoron. It is technically classified as such when the damage to the brain is caused by an illness or condition within the body, vs. a blow or injury to the head. But even if “non-traumatic” is part of its title, the suffering caused by loss of our "normal" functions, communication problems, physical after-effects and other losses often cause a very real trauma. Strokes, brain tumors, and encephalitis are all examples of a non-traumatic brain injury. More specifically, other possible causes include:

Anoxic brain injury-  Blood flow is blocked or slowed to the brain due to stroke, shock, or heart attack. An anoxic brain injury can also occur if blood flow is normal but blood doesn’t include enough oxygen, which can happen with lung disease, carbon-monoxide poisoning or events which prevent you from breathing properly.

Encephalitis-  At its most basic, encephalitis is a swelling of the brain, often due to infection. As the tissue swells, nerve cells may be destroyed, resulting in brain injury. Many different factors can cause this swelling, ranging from viruses (West Nile virus, measles), bacteria, fungi or pathogens, to the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacking brain tissue. Encephalitis may result in complications with memory, speech, processing speed, hearing, muscle coordination and personality changes.

Ischemic Stroke- A clotting stroke, occurs when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain is blocked.  This most commonly occurring stroke just means blood can't get to areas of the brain that it needs to and starves an area of the brain.  Remember your stroke warning signs and get help immediately, every second saves brain cells and lives.  

Hemorrhagic Stroke- A brain bleed is just as it sounds – the result of a weakened vessel that ruptures or bleeds. During a hemorrhagic stroke, as the blood pools in a specific spot, it places pressure on the brain. Depending on where the damage occurs, a person’s speech, language and comprehension centers can be impaired, although speech therapy can go a long way toward restoring some of those skills.


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What is a Brain Injury?
Qualified Therapists

Our dedicated team of speech-language pathologists are specially trained in speech therapy as it relates to cognitive-communication issues (how you listen, process, focus, remember, and communicate). We are also nationally certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, are nationally recognized by the Brain Injury Association of America and are Certified Brain Injury Specialists (CBIS). We are licensed to practice in both North Dakota and Minnesota. We believe every patient deserves the best treatment and support we can offer in every single contact and interaction with us.

Individual Approach

We recognize that no two people have the same needs and that everyone has different learning styles. That’s why we like to call our approach “the Progressive way,” which means we will happily customize treatment plans to meet the unique needs of the individual and their family. We also believe in “the right fit” between patient and therapist, so will make every effort to match you with a clinician who connects with you, understands you, and utilizes a therapy style that is comfortable for you.

We are here to help

Depending on the goals you wish to accomplish and the learning pace that is most comfortable for you, we will arm you with the evidence-based strategies, proven skills, and ample support you need to feel more organized, prepared, and effective. Therapy strategies may range from recommendations for specific tools (such as timers or planners), one-on-one brainstorming and problem-solving to address concerns, therapeutic activities as well as computer trials or worksheets to help strengthen cognitive and executive functions like attention, memory, and planning.

Coaching with compassion

We know that working on cognitive-communication issues is hard work and that it can be easy to feel defeated or overwhelmed by the challenges of building a more efficient brain. However, you will not be in this alone. We are not just speech-language pathologists; we are fellow human beings who care about you, your journey, and your success. We don’t want an appointment to feel like you’ve been sent to the principal’s office. Instead, you’ll find a comfortable space where you’ll feel listened to and understood. And because humor makes everything more bearable, be prepared to laugh and joke a bit too!