Beyond academic performance: Practice implications for working with students following traumatic brain injury Academic Article uri icon


  • Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have a key role in supporting educational participation for secondary and tertiary students with traumatic brain injury (TBI). This article aims to (i) explore issues identified by students with TBI that affect educational participation beyond their academic performance, (ii) offer a framework based on research evidence to guide the practice of SLPs and (iii) explore strategies that may expand the traditional roles of SLPs to support students beyond academic performance.Data were drawn from an earlier qualitative research project in which three adolescent males were interviewed about their experiences of returning to education after severe TBI. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using a grounded theory approach.Six themes were identified that had a substantial impact beyond academic performance: poor community awareness of TBI, the invisible nature of TBI, getting back to everyday life, planning to return to education, being accepted and adjusting to long-term changes. Incorporating these factors, a clinical framework is put forward to guide SLPs in developing strategies for promoting positive educational participation.By considering factors beyond academic performance and addressing these in intervention, SLPs may significantly improve the overall educational success and wellbeing of students living with TBI.

publication date

  • September 3, 2017