Aphasia is a condition in when an individual has difficulty in language or speech. Their ability to communicate is partially or completely affected due to a stroke or head injury. But it can also come on gradually from a slow-growing brain tumour or a disease that causes progressive, permanent damage (degenerative). The severity of aphasia depends on a number of conditions, including the cause and the extent of the brain damage. It can affect your speech, as well as the way you write and understand both spoken and written language. People with aphasia may have difficulty reading, writing, speaking or listening.
Aphasia can create numerous quality-of-life problems because communication is an integral part of your life. Communication difficulty may affect various areas in your life such as your job, relationships or carrying out daily activities.
Broadly aphasias can be categorised as Fluent or Non fluent aphasias:
Fluent Aphasia – Individuals with fluent aphasia, though seem to be speaking fluently, would not be making sense in communicative contexts. These individual’s speech is characterised with phonemic or semantic paraphasia, neologisms, and incoherent speech. These individuals are also unable to comprehend language. They also use words and phrases that do not make sense without realizing.
Non-Fluent aphasia – Individuals are seen to have chunky, repetitive speech, they struggle to come up with words to communicate their needs. They have very limited expressive vocabulary. Some of them might also see these difficulties in writing as well. But these individuals will be able to comprehend language without much difficulty.
Aphasia is usually diagnosed by Speech Language Therapists by following a certain set of exercises which help in identifying an individual’s ability to understand basic speech and grammar, express phrases or socially communicate with others.
This evaluation helps the speech therapist in developing a unique treatment protocol based on each individual’s language disorder. Aphasia treatments start bedside in the first week of ictus. The speech therapist usually starts working on enabling your functional communication verbally or non verbally. As the therapy progresses, the patient starts being more and more fluent in their communication. One of the primary strategies used by patients is SELF REPAIR STRATEGIES.
In a study by Leaman M C & Archer. B in may of 2022, it was observed that the self repair strategies used by people with aphasia is an important strategy that contributes equally towards the overall speech fluency and coherence of an individual with aphasia. It was also found that individuals with aphasia, when given adequate support and time to self-repair, it aids provide meaningful personal information to conversations for approximately 80% of the time. Importantly, self-repair often results in self-expression that steers the conversation in a more meaningful way. This helped identify the importance of aphasia treatments focusing on overall functional communication progressivity that provides therapeutic benefits for the individual with aphasia as well as the caregiver.
If you’re concerned about anyone with aphasia, encourage them to consult a speech language therapist. At Mokshaa, we focus on providing utmost care for speech language disorders. Overcoming a speech or language disorder can take time and effort. So it’s important that all family members be patient and understanding with the individual with the disorder. Mokshaa’s speech language therapists are dedicated and qualified. Contact us to schedule an appointment.