Speech Therapy Helps Aphasia

June is Aphasia Awareness Month and speech therapy can help!  What is aphasia?  It is a communication disorder that interferes your ability to say or understand words.   It results from damage to language parts of the brain.  Damage can occur from stroke, brain injury, dementia or other disorders of the brain. Aphasia does not impair your intelligence and it affects each person differently.   You may have difficulty:

  • speaking and finding the “right” words to express your thoughts
  • understanding conversation
  • reading and comprehending written words
  • writing words
  • using numbers

The National Aphasia Association estimates 1,000,000 Americans currently suffer from aphasia and that number will double by 2020.  Do you know someone with aphasia?  Speech therapy can help.

How Does Speech Therapy Help Aphasia?

Speech therapy uses two approaches to treating aphasia:

Impairment-based therapies focus on repairing what is broken.  The speech therapist evaluates language strengths and weaknesses, then helps you exercise specific areas of language impairment such as retrieving verbs and formulating sentence structure.

Communication-based therapies focus on helping you convey messages and feelings with alternative means of communicating. The speech therapist will identify compensatory strategies and target any remaining language ability you have to help convey your messages.  She will identify communication devices such as communication boards and communication apps to assist you in expressing your thoughts.

How To Get Speech Therapy for Aphasia

Treatment outcomes for someone with aphasia depends on factors such as the severity and cause of the injury, the type of aphasia you have, your age, and other factors.  Also, the earlier you get treatment, the better the outcome.   But no matter how long it’s been since your injury or how mild or severe your injury was, speech therapy will help.

Joey Farris and Jennifer Egeland are two of the speech therapists at Therapy Achievements who work with people with Aphasia.  They are members of the American Speech and Hearing Association and have advanced training in both impairment-based and communication-based treatment approaches.  They will evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and tailor a treatment plan to fit your unique needs.  To learn more about how speech therapy could help you or someone you know, call Therapy Achievements at 256-509-4398.

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