Content » Vol 49, Issue 7

Original report

Communication in children and adolescents after acquired brain injury: An exploratory study

Åsa Fyrberg, Göran Horneman, Jakob Åsberg Johnels, Gunilla Thunberg, Elisabeth Ahlsén
Department of Applied IT, Cognitive Science, SE-412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2243


Objective: The usability of the Communicative Effectiveness Index (CETI) in adolescents with acquired brain injury was investigated and compared with linguistic, cognitive and brain injury data.
Design: A prospective, longitudinal, between-group design.
Subjects: Thirty participants were divided into 2 subgroups: CETI+ and CETI− groups.
Methods: Parental CETI ratings of daily communication were compared with linguistic data and IQ test results. Lesion site and aetiology were also studied.
Results: The CETI+ group (n = 16) had a mean score greater than 75 out of 100, while the mean score of the CETI− group (n = 14) was below 75. Complex daily communication was impaired in both groups, but the CETI− group scored significantly lower on verbal IQ and grammar comprehension tests and had more naming difficulties. A majority of subjects in the CETI− group had a left hemisphere injury. Traumatic vs non-traumatic acquired brain injury did not differentiate the results.  
Conclusion: Specific complex CETI items provided unique information that is not easily measured by linguistics and cognitive tests for use with the acquired brain injury group. Parental evaluations of communication skills were well reflected in language and verbal IQ test results. Left hemisphere injury was associated with poorer communication outcome.

Lay Abstract

Adolescents with acquired head injuries may suffer from communication impairments which severely affect their ability to cope in daily interactions. These impairments need careful assessment to increase the knowledge needed for rehabilitation interventions. In the present study we compared parental ratings of daily communication in 30 adolescents, with data from tests of language and intelligence. We found that youths with more impaired communication according to the parental evaluations had lower scores on tests of language comprehension and intelligence and they had injuries mainly located to the left side of the brain. We recommend a mixed methods approach in these investigations to increase the understanding of communication impairments in adolescents after ABI.


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