June is National Aphasia Awareness Month! In support of this campaign to raise public awareness about aphasia, our blogs in the month of June will deal with issues in aphasia: today we focus on how speech-language pathologists help people with aphasia to improve their communication skills and their overall quality of life.
Aphasia is a language disorder which affects the ability to produce or understand spoken or written language following a neurological injury. The effects of aphasia can vary greatly from person to person depending on the extent and type of injury, but speech-language pathologists almost always play a large role in the recovery process. Here are three ways speech therapists help people with aphasia:
- Improving Language: One of the most common issues in aphasia is difficulty with word-finding. The type of word-finding issues that can occur in aphasia is widely varied and specific to the individual. A speech-language pathologist will conduct an in-depth evaluation to determine an individual’s specific strengths and weaknesses, and will create a specialized treatment program designed to target their needs.
- Speech Clarity: Aphasia is often accompanied by issues with speech clarity. This means the person not only has trouble formulating language, but the sounds they produce are imprecise and can make it difficult for others to understand them. A speech therapist can help a person with aphasia to improve their clarity and enunciation so that they can communicate to their fullest ability.
- Compensatory Strategies: Depending on the individual, there are often aspects of speech and language that do not return to normal following an injury, even with therapy. A speech-language pathologist can help a person learn to work around these problems. For example, if a person is having difficulty with word-finding, they may work on descriptions to help to communicate the word they want to say. For people with severe speech and language deficits, the speech therapist may recommend using an alternative communication device, like a speech generating computer.
Want to learn more? If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.
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