Speech Therapy: As A Treatment For Aphasia
Since there are no surgical or medical procedures that are currently available to treat Aphasia, conditions that result from head injury or stroke can be improved through the treatment of speech therapy.
For majority of Aphasic patients though, the main emphasis is placed upon optimizing the use of the persons retained language skills and being able to learn to use other ways of communication to be able to compensate for their permanently lost language abilities.
The formulation of what activities to use during a speech therapy session is critically done and would highly depend on the therapists assessment and diagnosis results on the individual. However, there are some general activities that are done to treat Aphasia.
Since most types of Aphasia would include right-sided weakness of the body and sensory loss, it is important for the patient to be able to exercise their body. Regular exercise and practice is needed to strengthen the weak muscles and prevent it from further degeneration.
The exercise activities do not have to be exhilarating. For the purpose of speech function, the therapist can exercise the patients weakened muscles through repetitive speaking of certain words, and projecting facial expressions, like smiling and frowning.
The use of food too is helpful, since the patient is able to exercise articulators needed for speech production like the tongue and jaw, which may be weakened due to the condition.
One of the tools used for therapy are picture cards. Pictures of daily living and everyday objects can be used to improve and develop word recall skills. Picture cards can act as a visual cue to increase the learning process of an Aphasic. These can also help increase the vocabulary of the patient.
By showing the picture cards and repetitively saying aloud the names of the objects in the picture, the patient will be able to exercise weak muscles and practice vocalization.
Another tool for therapy are picture boards. Since aphasia can bring about difficulty in recalling names of activities, objects and people, use of material to help recall these names is very helpful. By making use of a board where the therapist places pictures of different everyday activities and objects, the patient can point to specific pictures to express ideas and communicate with other people.
The use of workbooks is also important in the treatment of Aphasia. Since reading and writing skills are affected, this is one way to exercise them. Workbook exercises can be used to sharpen an Aphasics word recalling skills and recover reading and writing abilities.
By reading aloud, hearing comprehension can also be exercised and redeveloped through workbook exercises.
With the development of technology, there are now computer programs that are used to treat Aphasia. Such computer programs can be used to improve an Aphasics reading, speech, recall, and hearing comprehension. In fact, the use of computers can bring about optimal results, since it can stimulate senses of vision, and hearing at the same time, helping speed up the learning process.