Friday, February 5, 2021

What to Expect After a Loved One's Aphasia Diagnosis

Aphasia is caused by damage to the areas of the brain that manage language control and processing. This disorder is most common in people over the age of 55. Some of the leading causes of aphasia are strokes, head injuries, brain tumors, or other underlying neurological conditions. If a loved one has been diagnosed with aphasia or you suspect they may be suffering from this disorder, read our guide for some common symptoms and tactics for communicating effectively with them.

Indicators of Aphasia

Two loved ones sitting and talking together
The presence of aphasia symptoms can vary depending on several factors, including the extent of brain damage, the region of the brain that is damaged, and the person's overall health. Here are some common symptoms of aphasia:
  • Difficulty reading, spelling, and writing
  • Speaking only in short, fragmented sentences
  • Trouble annunciating words and sounds
  • Difficulty identifying familiar places, people, events, and objects
  • Substituting words incorrectly in a sentence
  • Inability to understand other people's conversations
If a loved one is displaying more than one of these symptoms, please schedule an appointment with a medical provider for an evaluation.

Recovery Outlook of Aphasia

Temporary forms of aphasia that are brought on by a minor stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) have higher recovery rates than other forms. In many of these temporary cases, symptoms will subside eventually because the brain damage was minimal and caused by an individual event. However, this does not apply to the majority of aphasia patients, and it can be difficult to determine the extent of the effects.

Treatment Options

Because aphasia affects the brain's language center, speech therapy is one of the primary treatments. Patients can use talking electronic devices to communicate by choosing images or typing out messages. Another tool that patients may be more familiar with is a portable whiteboard they can use to write out their thoughts.

The brain injuries that cause aphasia often have other effects that can impair a person's motor skills and other functions. In addition to speech therapy, occupational and physical therapy are often effective tools in their recovery.

Communicating With Someone Who Has Aphasia

It is often helpful to use short, simple sentences when speaking. You may need to repeat yourself and clearly annunciate each word. Using a mixture of hand signals, words, and drawings can also be beneficial. Finally, encourage them to communicate through whatever means they can and avoid correcting them if they misspeak.

Aphasia can have a significant impact on your daily life, but the team of healthcare professionals at Midlothian Healthcare Center can help you and your loved one build new, effective communication techniques. We offer a full range of speech therapy and rehabilitation services to patients in Midlothian, TX and the surrounding areas. As a family-owned clinic, we understand how important it is to feel physically and emotionally connected to the people you care about. To schedule an appointment with our staff, call 972-775-5105 or contact us online.

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