What is Aphasia?
Aphasia is a condition that impairs one’s ability to communicate. It can be mild or severe and it can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language both verbal and written. Aphasia typically occurs suddenly after a stroke, brain tumour or head injury.
Patience, compassion and understanding is really important if your loved one has aphasia. A person suffering from aphasia has not lost their intelligence, just their ability to communicate, so it can be very frustrating and challenging for them to learn a new way of communicating with family and caregivers.
Using a series of neurological tests, a doctor is able to diagnose aphasia as well as the severity of the condition.
Treatments for Aphasia
A person’s age, the cause of the brain injury , the type of aphasia, as well as the position and size of the brain lesion will determine treatment.
As well as working with a Speech Pathologist for therapy, a person living with aphasia may need communication tools to assist them with everyday tasks and to facilitate communication. There are a number of communication options that provide cognitive exercises and mental therapy to assist with facilitating recovery.
Communication cards. – these are a great idea if you are out and about. A business sized card that reads ‘I have had a stroke and find it difficult to speak. Please give me time to communicate. Your help and patience is appreciated’.
Communication Boards – There boards allow for ease of communication about basic needs. Some boards have displays of common images such as a drink, food, raising or lowering temperatures, volume up or down and other frequent requests.
Communication Books – a combination of a board and card. A book can however slow things down because it can take time to find the associated picture.
Tips for Communicating
- Get their attention before speaking
- Pay attention to their body language
- Keep eye contact
- Use simple words
- Use shorter sentences and repeat the important words
- Talk slowly
- Ask yes/no questions
- Give them time to say something
- Eliminate background noise
- Keep your voice at normal volume
- Ask them to write, draw or point if having difficulty
Long Term with Aphasia
The prognosis of course, depends on an individual and how severe their aphasia is, as well as the location of the injury on their brain. Generally speaking, language comprehension is more likely to recover than the use of facial expressions. To find out more visit: https://aphasia.org.au
We work with families, medical practioners and support services to ensure any residents living with mild aphasia are afforded every opportunity to participate in everyday life and programs in our homes. If you would like to find out more about our short term or accommodation options, please call us on (03) 9559 0400 or visit us here.