Did you know that aphasia affects about two million Americans, is more common than Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, and yet, most people have never heard of it? Aphasia is a communication disorder that occurs after a stroke or other neurological injury that makes it difficult to communicate using language. Each June, organizations around the country participate in Aphasia Awareness Month, a campaign designed to raise public awareness of aphasia. In support of this campaign, we’ve been dedicating our blogs for the month of June to issues in aphasia. Over the past few weeks we’ve talked about aphasia communication tips, the warning signs of a stroke, and using an “Aphasia ID Card” to help raise understanding of aphasia. Today, we’ll wrap up our series with some information about how a speech-language pathologist can help a person with aphasia live their fullest life possible. Here are just a few of the ways a speech language pathologist can help a person with aphasia:
- Speaking Clearly: Although aphasia is a disorder that affects language, it is often accompanied by trouble with speech clarity. This means 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.
- Improving Word-Finding: 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.
- Beyond Speech: Depending on the individual and the severity of the injury, some people with aphasia may not be able to communicate using speech at all. In these cases, a speech-language pathologist will often recommend using an AAC (alternative and augmentative communication) device to supplement or replace spoken language. ACC can range from high-tech speech-generating computers to very simple picture and alphabet boards. A speech-language pathologist works with the patient to determine which ACC device is the best fit and trains them how to use it to communicate in their day-to-day life.
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 email@example.com. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.
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