Types of Aphasia Treatment

There are many methods to treat aphasia.  Below find quick summaries of some of the most common methods being used.  For more information, just Google the bold terms.

Community Support and Integration

Aphasia Groups—treatment and support for people with aphasia that can improve linguistic functioning in a natural setting which offers individuals and family members an opportunity to socialize, converse, share ideas and feelings, receive support, and learn more about aphasia and aphasia resources.

Life Participation Approach to Aphasia — It places the life concerns of the person with aphasia and others affected by it at the center of decision making . It focuses on helping the person with aphasia reengage in life through daily participation in activities of his or her choice.

Computer-Based Treatment

Uses computer technology (e.g., touchscreen tablets) and/or software programs to target various language skills and modalities. Several currently available programs generate data about the individual’s progress on specific tasks; these data can be used in clinical documentation.

Speech Recognition—provides opportunities for individuals to practice verbal communication with feedback.  Avoids penalty of embarrassment. There is currently only one company that provides this experience; Parrot Software.

Constraint-Induced Language Therapy—an intensive treatment approach focused on increasing spoken language output while discouraging (constraining) the use of compensatory communication strategies (e.g., gesturing and writing).

Melodic Intonation Therapy—uses the musical elements of speech (i.e., melody, rhythm, and stress) to improve expressive language. This approach capitalizes on intact functioning (singing) while engaging areas of the undamaged right hemisphere that are still capable of language. Reliance on intonation is gradually decreased over time. Since singing is a right hemisphere function and speaking is a left hemisphere function, there is no always carryover from singing to speech with this method.

Multi-modal Treatment

Augmentative and Alternative Communication—a treatment that involves supplementing or replacing natural communication modalities with aided  symbols. Examples include devices that speak for the individual or finger spelling and sign language.  This approach does not really focus on re-gaining speech and language; it replaces speech and language.

Reading Treatments

Multiple Oral Reading—a treatment technique for individuals with acquired disorders of reading. The technique involves reading text aloud until a specific reading rate is reached—in an effort to improve whole-word oral reading in the context of a text passage.

Oral Reading for Language in Aphasia—a treatment for individuals with aphasia that involves repeated practice reading sentences aloud while the clinician also reads aloud in an effort to improve reading comprehension via phonological and semantic reading routes. This allows individuals to practice natural rhythm and intonation.

Supported reading comprehension—approaches that focus on improving the reading comprehension of individuals with aphasia by incorporating aphasia-friendly text supports .

Reciprocal Scaffolding Treatment—is a group treatment approach that addresses communication skills using natural language in meaningful social contexts. An individual with aphasia is given an opportunity to use their language strengths to teach other aphasics in the group.

Script Training—Script training is a functional approach to aphasia treatment that uses understanding, remembering, and recalling event sequences of an activity. Using this approach, the clinician and person with aphasia develop a monologue or dialogue of an activity of interest and then practice it intensely until description of the event becomes automatic and effortless.

Syntax Treatments

Sentence Production Program for Aphasia —a prescribed treatment program designed to aid in the production of specific sentence types. The rationale is that production of certain sentence types will improve if the person with aphasia hears and produces multiple sentences with the same syntactic form but different lexical content. A story completion task is used to practice eight different sentence structures.

Treatment of Underlying Forms—a linguistic approach to treating sentence-level deficits in persons with agrammatic aphasia. It is designed to improve sentence production by training more complex sentence structures first, assuming that understanding the linguistic properties of these complex sentences will generalize to less complex sentences that share similar properties.

Word-Finding Treatments

Gestural Facilitation of Naming—an approach that uses intact gesture abilities to facilitate word retrieval by taking advantage of the interactive nature of language and gesture.

Response Elaboration Training—a treatment approach designed to help increase verbal elaboration abilities of persons with aphasia by cuing and repeating. The ultimate goal of this approach is to generalize elaboration abilities so that the person can more fully participate in conversation with a communication partner.

Verb Network Strengthening Treatment—an aphasia treatment to promote lexical retrieval in sentence context. It targets verbs and their roles to activate semantic networks and to improve the production of basic syntactic structures (e.g., subject–verb–object). For example, the person with aphasia is given a verb (e.g., paint) and is asked to retrieve related agents and objects (e.g., artist–paints–picture and painter–paints–house.

Word Retrieval Cuing Strategies —an approach that provides additional information, such as the beginning sound of a word (phonological cuing) or contextual cues (semantic cuing), to prompt word recall.

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