Each year, more than 100,000 Americans acquire aphasia, the total or partial loss of verbal and written communication usually following a stroke or other left brain injury. Post injury, aphasia recovery may be a slow, drawn out process requiring caregivers and patients alike to acquire alternative methods of communication that are case specific. Studies have shown that intensive personalized speech language therapy over a period of a few months is more effective than long-term less intense treatment. Common therapies include the use of simple conversations, singing, scripts, transcranial stimulation and some medications to improve patients’ language skills.
Advances in technology and innovative programming are changing the face of aphasia treatment across the country. Here are a few:
- Mayo Clinic’s Aphasia Camp, New Auburn, WI: Three days of activities and workshops for people with aphasia and their caregivers to increase social interaction and conversational opportunities.
- The Aphasia House, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL: Intensive 6 week outpatient therapy conducted in a home-like setting.
- Pittsburgh VA’s PIRATE Program, Pittsburgh, PA: Veterans live in residential villas with other patients while undergoing 4 weeks of individualized and group therapy 6 days a week.
- Virtual Speech Therapist, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA: A two year collaboration between computer scientists and physical therapists to create a future cost-effective and accessible tool for practicing SLP exercises.
Even if a virtual tool becomes a reality, it can’t fully replace the essential core of any effective treatment program…the SLP. Are you an SLP interested in working with aphasia patients? Contact the Centra team at 800 575 0076 for outstanding opportunities in this rewarding field that literally changes lives.