Angela Hein Ciccia remembers when and where she decided to dedicate her career to helping young people recover from brain injuries.
The year was 1998, and Ciccia, a speech-language pathologist who had just completed her training at The George Washington University, had accepted a clinical fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), an academic health center in Galveston. Assigned to the center’s pediatric rehabilitation facility, Ciccia saw firsthand the devastating communication disorders that traumatic brain injury (TBI) could cause in children and adolescents.
“I knew that was my niche,” she recalls. “There was just no question about it.”
Now an associate professor at Case Western Reserve, where she teaches in the Communication Sciences Program in the Department of Psychological Sciences, Ciccia (CWR ’96, GRS ’03) has spent more than two decades studying TBI-related cognitive communication disorders among children and teenagers—disorders that can undermine their performance in school and prevent them from forming and maintaining friendships.
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