Speech Therapy for Aphasia
Anyone may find themselves struggling to find the word on occasion. For those who suffer from aphasia, however, this struggle can be a constant source of frustration that leads to a total breakdown in communications. Fortunately, people with aphasia can respond to a customized speech therapy plan here at Therapy Solutions in Dickinson, Killdeer, and Richardton, ND.
What Is Aphasia?
The term “aphasia” broadly describes a loss of verbal and/or written communication skills. People suffering from aphasia may have trouble putting their thoughts into words, and they may also find it difficult to understand others’ efforts to communicate with them.
Aphasia can occur for a variety of reasons. Neurological damage caused by a stroke represents the most common cause; in fact, aphasia afflicts up to 40 percent of all stroke survivors. Traumatic brain injuries, brain tumors, brain infections, and degenerative neurological diseases may also produce aphasia in patients of all ages, including children.
Symptoms of Aphasia
Aphasia sufferers often have trouble speaking in complete sentences or putting the correct string of words together. At the same time, they may have difficulty understanding or processing other people’s speech. Some aphasia sufferers find that they can no longer read or write adequately.
Aphasia may assume different forms and affect patients in different ways. For instance, people with expressive aphasia may express themselves fluently except for the odd misplaced word, but they may not understand what others are saying very well. People with comprehensive aphasia are better at understanding other people’s attempts to communicate than they are at expressing themselves. People with global aphasia may suffer equal impairment in both directions.
How Speech Therapy Can Help Aphasia
Speech therapy aims to either restore lost function or to help people compensate by developing alternative functions. Speech therapy for aphasia may therefore focus on rebuilding speech, reading, and writing, and comprehension skills. If you suffer from aphasia, the speech therapist may prescribe:
- Constraint-induced language therapy: A training method that forces patients to use speech exclusively to communicate, without any help from pictures, drawings, or gestures.
- Melodic intonation therapy: A method in which you use the part of the brain that processes music by singing words and phrases and/or tapping them out to a rhythm.
- Conversation training: Intensive practice sending and understanding written or spoken communications with the aid of a conversation partner.
- Picture drills and prompts: Training in identifying and naming pictured objects, or the use of pictures as a visual prompt in supported conversation training.
The speech therapist can integrate speech training with more general exercises to strengthen weakened muscles, improve balance, and enhance manual or verbal dexterity.
We’re Here for You
Therapy Solutions in Dickinson, Killdeer, and Richardton, ND wants to help you or any other member of your family struggling with aphasia. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!