Jenny Traver, MS-SLP '17
Tell us a little bit about your current work?
Currently, I work full time at my private practice, Cognitive SLP, providing virtual cognitive therapy and executive function coaching for children and adults living with TBI (including concussion/mTBI), ADHD, EF difficulties, and Long-COVID (PASC). I am passionate about raising more awareness around best practices for concussion/mTBI management including dispelling old myths and establishing appropriate accommodations for return to school/learning. In addition to direct therapy, coaching, and consultations, I'm focused on spreading awareness and education through presentations with school/medical professionals and caregivers, some of which are highlighted below.
What was the catalyst for your specializing in brain injury & cognition? What sustains you in this work?
It was during my time at Spaulding Rehab Hospital's Inpatient Pediatric Program where I began to specialize in brain injury, cognition, and the school re-entry process. I saw a need in our community for ongoing support for our patients once they transitioned home after the hospital and worked to return to daily life and school activities. Bridging the gap between the medical and school systems and collaborating with families during this time is what sustains me. I will forever celebrate every "A-ha!" moment and victory with my clients, no matter how small!
March is Brain Injury Awareness month. This year’s theme is “More than My Brain Injury”. What does this theme mean to you as a clinician?
When I hear "More than my brain injury," I immediately think of our shared humanity. My practice is focused on providing holistic care to support the well-being of the person, not just addressing their brain injury. Often, this includes helping someone with a brain injury reconnect with themselves and feel empowered to find things they love to do each day, even if it might look or feel a bit different than before. A lot of my work with clients consists of counseling and holding space for them as they travel on the path of recovery. Looking someone in the eye and recognizing they are so much more than their diagnosis, then helping them realize this as well, is the beauty in my work as an SLP.
Caregivers are an integral part of a client’s care plan. From a clinician’s perspective, what are the best ways to support a caregiver?
I have found the best way to support a caregiver is to hold space for them. I often think of Brene Brown's quote about connection when working with caregivers. She says, "Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship." That's what I always hope to create with caregivers - an environment in which they feel seen and heard, know that I'm listening to them without judgment, and feel empowered to continue supporting their loved one on their recovery journey.
The mission of the Institute is to prepare health professionals and scientists to advance care for a diverse society through leadership in education, clinical practice, research and community engagement. How do you think that you are living this mission?
I am always looking for new ways to provide education and spread community awareness about the SLP's role in brain injury recovery and cognitive therapy through professional presentations and caregiver education. In March, I am hosting two free brain injury survivor workshops with the Brain Injury Association of MA on the topics of Attention and Energy Management Strategies.
This April, I have a new caregiver webinar series focused on empowering caregivers as they care for their child with mTBI/concussion and navigate return to school. You can find additional blog posts (like Ways to Support Caregivers and Concussion Management) and upcoming webinars and resources on my website.