Therapy to Restore Speech Lost to Aphasia

Did you know that strokes are the fifth most common cause of disability in the U.S? Strokes can be caused by a plethora of factors, including vascular malformations, trauma, and elevated blood pressure. A stroke can impact one’s overall health and quality of life in a number of ways, by triggering multiple communication problems.  One such problem is Aphasia, a language disorder affecting the stroke sufferers’ ability to communicate, which requires speech therapy to help the sufferer learn to communicate again. People that suffer from Aphasia typically have symptoms associated with damage to the left side of their brain. The person may have difficulty finding or pronouncing words, forming sentences, misunderstanding what others say, difficulty spelling and writing sentences, and problems with counting or reading the time on a clock.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is devoted to raising awareness about aphasia and helping the general public identify and implement the most effective methods to improve the lives of those affected by this disorder. They have developed a series of communication tips that everyday people can apply to understand and tackle the effects of aphasia – Tips for Daily Living Library. At the same time, the association encourages individuals to become familiar with the main signs, symptoms and effects of a stroke by simply downloading the F.A.S.T smartphone app.

An Overview of Aphasia and Speech Therapy

At this point, patients diagnosed with aphasia can benefit from two different categories of therapy: impairment-based therapy and communication-based therapy. The first category comprises therapies meant to improve language functions and is mostly focused on ways in which therapists can enhance certain speaking, listening, writing and reading skills. The latter category is mostly based on natural interactions revolving around communicative challenges like the ones extracted from real-life situations. Communication-based therapies seek to boost communication and focus on increased support from caregivers.

Speech therapists can address the specific needs and goals of aphasia sufferers by offering them the most appropriate type of treatment. For instance, therapists can help families identify and use a great variety of materials available online, which may help people dealing with aphasia develop stronger communication skills and live more fulfilling lives. For example, access to videos designed to bring everyday language back to life are excellent resources for those who are having difficulties understanding one or more words. Video dictionaries are extremely helpful, given that they rely on fun, informative videos created to give viewers the chance to define and understand any concept with ease.

While in some cases aphasia can become more manageable on its own, in most situations patients require the best speech and language therapy to witness notable signs of improvement. This form of therapy is focused on different strategies employed to help patients:

• Communicate in a more effective manner
• Restore their language and speech with less effort
• Discover and implement new methods of communicating

The speech therapy that one may receive depends a great deal on his or her current condition and specific communication-related issues. For instance, those who have a hard time understanding words can work closely with their SLP (speech language therapist) to sort words by meaning or match words to certain images. These processes allow aphasia sufferers to establish a connection between words, their depiction and their meanings. Those who find it difficult to express themselves can construct different sentences with help from their therapist. In some cases, patients may work with their friends, relatives or a computer to rehearse some of the most common real-life situations and improve their communication skills.

Speech Therapists are experts in the study, diagnosis, and treatment of defects and disorders of the voice and of spoken and written communication. Treatment goals include reducing the disability and providing education and counseling on how to cope with the stress associated with speech and communication disorders.

Healthcare Therapy Services, Inc. (HTS) therapists are experts in rehabilitation for adults 50+. Our highly experience clinicians use evidence-based clinical programs to treat Stroke/CVA and Aphasia with proven recovery results. Contact us for more information: HTS Therapy.

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