Supporting return to work: Assistive technology for cognitive communication disorders post traumatic brain injury

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Hewetson, Ronelle
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Cornwell, Petrea
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The ability to complete simple work activities such as sending an email, reading a report, or remembering due dates may seem inconsequential to some. But, for people who live with cognitive and communication changes after a traumatic brain injury it can mean the difference between returning to work and by extension returning to normal life or not. Not only is it imperative that people can complete these everyday work activities but the speed at which they are done can directly affect employers and employees alike. As technology has increasingly become more integral to our society, so too has the interest in utilising mainstream technology to support work-related activities. Nevertheless, even with this interest, speech pathologists' knowledge and confidence in assistive technology (AT) continues to lag. Much of the current research into AT to support adults with acquired communication disorders centres on augmentative and alternative communication software and devices to support individuals with verbal communication challenges through symbols, text, and text to speech means. However, there has been less focus on the types of assistive technologies (ATs) that could benefit those with milder cognitive communication disorders (CCDs) in achieving return to work goals. Research into the experiences of people living with traumatic brain injury (TBI) displays common themes of frustration and apprehensiveness towards reading, writing, communicating, and returning to work. As speech pathologists are responsible for the diagnosis and rehabilitation of people with CCDs, further investigation into their clinical practice related to the use of technology to support return to work (RTW) goals is warranted. Thus, this research examined current practices among speech pathologists in the prescription and use of AT to support return to work activities of individuals with TBI; and explored the public and professionally available information on AT that may be used by speech pathologists to support clinical decisions. [...]

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Thesis (Masters)
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Master of Medical Research (MMedRes)
School of Pharmacy & Med Sci
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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.
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assistive technology
traumatic brain injury
cognitive communication disorder
return to work
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