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Treating Aphasia

A person's success in recovering language abilities is highly dependent on:

  • The location and cause of the original brain injury
  • The extent of the brain damage that’s been suffered
  • Other factors, including age, general health, motivation, and willingness to participate in speech therapy

The Timing of Therapy is Critical

Some people with aphasia completely recover without treatment. In most cases, however, therapy should begin as soon as possible after the injury and be tailored to the specific needs of the patient. Rehabilitation with a speech-language pathologist involves extensive exercises in which patients read, write, follow directions, and repeat what they hear.

“Handedness” May Also Figure into the Equation

In people who are left-handed, language centers may be located in both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Therefore, left-handed people may be more likely to develop aphasia after a brain injury. But patients with two language centers may recover more fully because language abilities can be recovered from either side of the brain.

Therapy with a speech-language pathologist may include:

  • Exercise and practice: Weakened facial muscles are exercised using word repetition exercises or by making facial expressions
  • Picture cards: Pictures of everyday objects are used to improve word recall and increase vocabulary
  • Picture boards: Pictures of everyday objects and activities are used to convey ideas and communicate with others
  • Workbooks: Reading and writing exercises are used to improve word recall and rebuild reading and writing abilities
  • Computers: Special computer software is used to improve speech, reading, recall, and hearing comprehension