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What Is Aphasia Therapy?

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  • Written By: Jennifer Long
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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Aphasia therapy is a type of speech and communication therapy used to help correct the impairment caused by the language disorder called aphasia. This therapy has different aspects. The cause and severity of the aphasia influences which aspects of the therapy will be used.

Not all types of aphasia are the same. Some people with this language disorder cannot speak properly. Others may not be able to write or read properly. Providing the appropriate aphasia therapy means understanding which areas of communication are deficient.

Aphasia is caused by damage to the area of the brain that is responsible for language. A stroke is one of the most common causes of brain damage that leads to a communication disorder. Trauma from an injury to the head is another cause. Regardless of the cause, language production and comprehension are interrupted.

Cognitive linguistic aphasia therapy focuses on how the patient comprehends language through various exercises. A language therapist can have patients differentiate the tones of voice when words are spoken. The therapist may also ask a patient to define what descriptive words mean.

Programmed simulation aphasia therapy involves using sensory stimulation. Music, pictures, and other methods help patients learn language similar to the way infants learn to speak. Sight, sound, and touch can be used to associate words.

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Another type of aphasia therapy is stimulation-facilitation therapy. This type of therapy uses repetition as the basis for addressing language problems. Auditory stimulation is used in sessions where specific words and phrases are repeated to help build language skills and comprehension.

Promoting Aphasic’s Communicative Effectiveness (PACE) is a form of aphasia therapy that relies on conversation as the instrument for learning. A therapist initiated a conversation using visually-stimulating items such as pictures and drawings. These items spontaneously start communication as they help the patient create things to communicate.

Operant conditioning, also called behavior modification, has also been used for aphasia therapy. These sessions involve a series of tasks for the patient to complete that must be done in a set order. For treating aphasia, the tasks often involve associating words and pictures, reading out loud, and writing to help rebuild communication abilities.

The ultimate goal is to develop a communication method between the patient and the speech therapist. It is vital to the success of aphasia therapy for a therapist to be able to effectively determine the needs of the patient. Initial intake can help a therapist determine what those immediate needs may be. Assessments throughout therapy can help determine which areas need to be altered and which techniques are beneficial.

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