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Aphasia

Aphasia is an incredibly frustrating communication disorder for stroke survivors.  It can affect your independence by limiting how much you can express your thoughts and needs. Whether your aphasia is mild or severe, Lifespan Therapy can help you find a way to effectively communicate your wants/needs with family, peers and healthcare professionals.

Social communication disorders occur when an individual has difficulty with the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication. These disorders may include problems communicating for social purposes (e.g., greeting, asking questions), talking in different ways depending on the listener(s) and setting, and following rules for conversation and story-telling. All individuals on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have some level of social communication problems. Social communication disorders are also found in individuals with other conditions, such as a traumatic brain injury.

Treatment for aphasia can be restorative (i.e., aimed at improving or restoring impaired function) and/or compensatory (i.e., aimed at compensating for deficits not amenable to retraining).  The treatment approach can be a mix of the following or other methods recognized by ASHA set forth by the evaluating/treating SLP:

  • Constraint-Induced Language Therapy (CILT)

       CILT is an intensive treatment approach focused on increasing spoken language output while discouraging (constraining) the use of compensatory communication strategies (e.g., gesturing and writing).

  • Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT)

       MIT uses the musical elements of speech (i.e., melody, rhythm, and stress) to improve expressive language. This approach capitalizes on intact functioning (singing) while engaging areas of the undamaged right hemisphere that are still capable of language.

  • Multimodal Treatment

       Treatment approaches that focus on using effective and efficient communication strategies via nonverbal and alternative means include the following:

  1. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) —a treatment that involves supplementing or replacing natural communication modalities (e.g., natural spoken language) with aided (e.g., picture communication symbols, line drawings, Blissymbols, and tangible objects) and/or unaided (e.g., manual signs, gestures, and fingerspelling) symbols.

  2. Promoting Aphasics' Communication Effectiveness (PACE)—a treatment designed to improve conversational skills. The individual with aphasia and the clinician take turns as the message sender or receiver.