10 Things to Know About Aphasia

  • http://content.bettermedicine.com/e0/6380800b1d11e1ab1412313d033e31/file/speech-SS-stroke.jpg
    10 Things to Know About Aphasia
    If a stroke has left you with lingering language problems, called aphasia, you might recover some limited abilities on your own. However, you'll probably need speech-language therapy for the best possible improvement. Fortunately, experts know more today than ever before about treating aphasia effectively. Here are 10 essential facts about the most up-to-date treatment strategies.
  • A doctor talking to a smiling patient lying in a hospital bed
    1. Treatment Often Starts Early
    Many experts believe that the sooner aphasia treatment begins, the more effective it is. One study showed that starting treatment within a week of the stroke was both doable and beneficial for people with moderate to severe aphasia.
  • http://content.bettermedicine.com/fb/a335c00b1d11e1ab1412313d033e31/file/speech-SS-later.jpg
    2. Treatment Can Help Later On, Too
    Even if your stroke occurred weeks or months ago, aphasia treatment can still make a difference. In fact, the recovery process usually continues over a two-year period. The extent of your recovery is affected not only by the treatment you receive, but also by which part of your brain was damaged by the stroke, the amount of damage, and your age and overall health.
  • woman writing in journal
    3. Therapy Builds on Your Strengths
    In treatment, you'll build on your stronger language skills. For example, if it's easier for you to communicate in writing than by speech, you may be taught how to use writing to help you recall words in conversation.
  • http://content.bettermedicine.com/1b/0df7100b1e11e1ab1412313d033e31/file/speech-SS-doctor.jpg
    4. Practice Exercises Make a Difference
    In one-on-one therapy with a speech-language pathologist (SLP), you'll work on exercises that address your individual needs. For example, you might practice naming objects, following directions, or greeting an acquaintance. As your speech improves, the tasks gradually grow more challenging.
  • group, therapy, counseling, talking, feelings, support group
    5. Therapy Can Take Place in Groups
    You might also participate in group speech-language therapy. This gives you a chance to practice your communication skills with other people who also have aphasia. Guided by the SLP, you may work on conversational skills with a partner. Or you may role-play common social situations, such as talking on the phone or ordering a meal in a restaurant.
  • waitress-bringing-food-to-table
    6. Your Treatment Might Include Outings
    When you're ready, you may move on to practicing your skills in real-world settings. For example, you and other group members might plan a field trip to a restaurant. This could involve using skills such as finding the address, calling ahead to make a reservation, and ordering from the menu.
  • http://content.bettermedicine.com/3e/8407700b1e11e1ab1412313d033e31/file/speech-SS-computer.jpg
    7. A Computer May Be Part of Therapy
    Your treatment plan might include the use of computers to improve your language abilities, called computer-assisted therapy. Computers can be used to practice skills, such as remembering words or differentiating between speech sounds. In some cases, you may also use a computerized device that speaks for you to communicate with others.
  • grandparents-at-farmers-market-with-grandson
    8. You'll Pursue Personal Goals
    Your SLP will tailor a treatment plan to your abilities, needs, and goals. Many SLPs follow what's known as the life participation approach to aphasia. This approach has you define your real-life, functional goals and then helps you work toward achieving them. Ultimately, it not only improves your language skills, but also helps you reengage with daily life.
  • happy family, group, family
    9. Your Family Plays a Role
    In communication, you always have a partner. Including those partners in your treatment will be beneficial for everyone. Close family and friends can support your treatment in many ways. They can learn strategies for talking with you, such as repeating key words and simplifying sentences. They can encourage you to communicate by any means, including speech, gestures, or drawing. And they can give you plenty of time to express what's on your mind.
  • doctor
    10. Treatment Promotes Progress
    The bottom line: Speech-language treatment for aphasia really helps. Research has shown that treatment can lead to gains in both the quantity and quality of communication. Perhaps the most important thing to know is that appropriate treatment can help you lead a more active, fulfilling life with aphasia.
10 Things to Know About Aphasia

About The Author

  1. Aphasia: Benefits of Speech-Language Pathology Services, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2011 (http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/AphasiaSLPBenefits.htm);
  2. Life Participation Approach to Aphasia, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2011 (http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/LPAA.htm);
  3. Treatment Efficacy Summary: Aphasia Resulting from Left Hemisphere Stroke, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, undated, accessed October 16, 2011 (http://www.asha.org/uploadedFiles/public/speech/disorders/TESAphasiaFromLeftHemisphereStroke.pdf);
  4. Aphasia, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, October 2008 (http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/pages/aphasia.aspx);
  5. Speech and Language Therapy for Aphasia Following Stroke (Review). H. Kelly et al. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2010, iss. 5, art. no. CD000425.;
  6. Very Early Poststroke Aphasia Therapy: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Efficacy Trial. E. Godecke et al. International Journal of Stroke, October 6, 2011, e-published ahead of print.;

Was this helpful?
Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Aug 30
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.