Aphasia is a condition that affects nearly 2 million people in the United States. Although aphasia is prevalent, not many people are aware of what it is. 84 percent of people in the U.S. have never heard of the condition.
If you want to know more about aphasia, you’ve come to the right place. Today we break down everything you need to know about this impairment including what aphasia treatment entails.
What is Aphasia?
Before we get into the treatment for aphasia, let’s talk about the condition and what causes it. Aphasia is an impairment that affects language and understanding speech. It also hampers the ability to read or write.
Aphasia is caused by brain injury, usually from a stroke. It can also arise from head trauma, brain tumors, or infections.
How is Aphasia Diagnosed?
Aphasia is diagnosed by a physical and neurological exam. A doctor tests a patient’s strength and reflexes. Also, the doctor will request an imaging test and MRI. These tests quickly help to identify the root cause of aphasia.
What is Aphasia Treatment?
Treatment for aphasia depends on the severity of the condition. If brain damage is mild, someone can recover without treatment.
However, for a more severe case, a person would have to undergo intensive speech and language therapy. Recovery of language skills is a slow process and may take several weeks to months. Fortunately, patients make significant progress and some even regain full communication skills.
How do you treat aphasia? A person with the condition receives treatment from a speech-language pathologist. Therapy would begin with an initial assessment to gauge the level of communication issues.
Some therapy sessions will take place in the therapist’s office while others will be in a group setting. The purpose of group therapy is for the patient to practice communication skills. This is where they can try out initiating conversations, speaking in turn, and correcting misunderstandings.
Therapy sessions may even be conducted in a public setting such as a restaurant or grocery store.
Aphasia treatment may also include computers. Computer-based therapy can help relearn words and word sounds.
Can Medication Treat Aphasia?
Currently, there are no forms of medication that specifically treat aphasia. However, certain drugs are being studied. Some of these drugs include those that help increase blood flow to the brain and enhance the brain’s ability to replace depleted neurotransmitters.
Studies show that these types of drugs can produce an improvement in aphasia. But more research needs to be done before medication is used for treatment.
How Can You Support Someone With Aphasia?
Communicating with someone with aphasia can be a challenge. However, you can help ease the communication barrier with these mindful tips:
- Simplify your sentences.
- Speak at a slow pace.
- Don’t correct mistakes or finish sentences.
- Use drawings or gestures when you’re misunderstood.
Along with using these tips to communicate with someone with aphasia, you can also show your support by contributing to an aphasia charity.
The Future is Bright for Aphasia Treatment
Being diagnosed with aphasia or caring for someone with the condition can be overwhelming. However, aphasia treatment helps improve communication challenges. Not to mention, the research on aphasia medication is promising.
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