Did you know that June is National Aphasia Awareness Month? Aphasia is a language disorder caused by neurological damage, like stroke and traumatic brain injury, that results in difficulty producing or understanding language. In support of Aphasia Awareness Month, Speech Associates of NY is dedicating our blogs to topics related to aphasia during the month of June. This week, we’ll focus on how a speech language pathologist can help a person with aphasia improve their communication skills and increase their quality of life.
The language deficits of aphasia are at their worst immediately after the neurological injury occurs. As time goes by and the brain heals, communication abilities will improve. The amount of improvement can vary widely, dependent on the individual and their particular injury. For most people, the most progress is made during the first six months to one year post-injury. However, the recovery process can continue over years or even decades, as the individual improves language skills and strategies to compensate for impairments. Whether it is immediately post injury or years later, a speech-language pathologist can help a patient recover or augment their language in the most effective way possible.
A speech-language pathologist will work with an individual with aphasia to determine their strengths and weaknesses. The speech therapist will then work with the patient to decide on a course of treatment, designing activities to improve areas of weakness, and utilize strengths to better overall functional communication. Activities may include drills and exercises to improve specific language skills, for example, naming objects, following directions, or verbally summarizing information. As the individual improves, these activities will become more complex and challenging to encourage continued growth. The speech pathologist will also help the person to use the skills they do have in the most effective way possible, for example, using gestures or writing to express ideas that are difficult to express in words. For more severe cases, a speech-generating computer or other assistive device may be used. Later stages of therapy often include real-life integration of newly learned skills, often through community participation, telephone skills, or preparing to return to work or school.
For information on our New York based Speech-Language Pathology services, please call Speech Associates of New York today at (212) 308-7725 or visit our website at http://www.speechassociatesofny.com and find out how our team of professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists can help!
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