When a person experiences language disorder after a stroke or head injury, it is known as Aphasia. It usually occurs suddenly, but it can develop slowly due to a brain tumor or a progressive neurological disease.
For Aphasia, therapy aims to rewire the intact areas of the brain and stimulate them to work together. The disorder impairs the expression and understanding of language, reading, and writing. Aphasia is a loss of language ability and not intellectual ability. For best results it is recommended that the patient receive at least 4 to 5 hours of therapy a week from a professional and get a lot of practice at home.
DID YOU KNOW?
Samvaad Institute offers FREE Speech and Language Therapy for patients from low socio-economic strata. Nominal fee is charged for all other patients. Samvaad has had a clinical collaboration with Syracuse University USA since 2015. This collaboration won the Meritorious award for the unique use of technology for clinical collaboration at the American Speech and Hearing Association conference in 2016.
Aphasia Therapy works on the premise that language is not lost. Rather, the patient is unable to retrieve language due to brain damage after the stroke or head injury. Speech therapy uses procedures to rewire the brain pathways to retrieve language. This helps one improve their ability to communicate by restoring language abilities and training them to adapt to other ways of communication, like computer-based communication.
Yes, it is! There is enough evidence to show that therapy can begin at any given time post-stroke. Samvaad has demonstrated results for patients who began therapy 8 years post-stroke. Research suggests that the use of evidence-based approaches and the number of hours of therapy are crucial for the success of Speech Language Therapy and not the starting time of intervention.
Evidence shows that Speech Therapy can regain language in the patient by rewiring the brain networks. However, the right therapy approach combined with the intensity of practice and patient motivation is important for significant results. We recommend 1-2 hours of therapy daily for a minimum of one year.
The latest proven methods for dealing with Aphasia include VNest (Verb Network Strengthening), SFA (Semantic Feature Analysis), PCA (Phonological Component Analysis), CAAST (Combined Aphasia and Apraxia of Speech Treatment), ST (Script Training) and MIT (Melodic Intonation Therapy).
Family involvement is often a crucial component of aphasia treatment. It enables family members to learn the best ways to communicate with their loved ones. Persons with Aphasia go through many emotions, and good caregiver support enhances the quality of treatment by enabling a favorable environment for the client to express himself more effectively.
Tips for family members
- Ask them if they want help before offering it.
- Give them the time to answer, as it may take a minute or more to process and produce a word.
- Avoid questions like “What do you want”? Instead ask questions that can be answered in a yes/no manner, e.g. do you want tea?
- Use pictures/photographs or the alphabet chart to support communication.
- Speak to the person like an adult, and continue to involve them in family matters.
- REMEMBER – Aphasia is a loss of language not intellect.