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Speech Therapy Activities for Aphasia

Aphasia is a communication disorder that can occur after a stroke or other brain injury. It affects the ability to process and understand language. A person with aphasia may have difficulty speaking, reading, writing, and understanding others. However, aphasia does not affect intelligence. There are many different speech therapy activities that can help improve communication for people with aphasia. This post will discuss some of these activities.


In this article we will discuss:


Adult speech therapy

What do people with aphasia want?


Worrall et al. (2011) interviewed 50 participants with aphasia after stroke in 2011, from Worrall and colleagues’ study. What people with aphasia want the most is to regain the ability to communicate with friends and family. Other important things people with aphasia want are to be able to communicate their needs and wants, improve their understanding of other people, and engage in leisure activities.


Types of Aphasia


Broca’s aphasia

Broca’s aphasia is a language disorder in adults that results to having trouble speaking. People with broca’s aphasia may speak in short, choppy sentences, and often have difficulty finding the right words. Broca’s Aphasia is caused by damage to the Broca’s area, which is located in the frontal lobe of the brain. Broca's aphasia treatment looks at a person's ability to utilize expressive language.


Symptoms include:

  1. Speaking in short, choppy sentences

  2. Difficulty finding the right words

  3. Difficulty with grammar

  4. Slow speech

  5. Difficulty producing words that are meaningful

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aphasia speech therapy

Wernicke’s aphasia

Another language disorder in adults include Wernicke’s aphasia. People with Wernicke’s aphasia often speak fluently, but their speech is jumbled and hard to understand. They may not be aware that their speech is unclear. Wernicke’s aphasia is caused by damage to the Wernicke’s area, which is located in the temporal lobe of the brain.


Symptoms include:

  1. Jumpled speech that is hard to understand

  2. Speech that sounds fluent but makes no sense

  3. Difficulty understanding spoken or written language

  4. Unaware of errors in speech

  5. Trouble naming objects


Global aphasia

Global aphasia is a language disorder in adults that have the most severe symptoms of all three types of aphasia. They often cannot speak at all, and if they can, their speech is very hard to understand. Global aphasia is caused by damage to large areas of the brain that are responsible for language.


Symptoms include:

  1. Very difficult or impossible to speak

  2. Cannot understand spoken or written language

  3. May be able to say a few words


What kind of speech therapy treatments are available?


There are many different types of adult speech therapy treatments available for people with aphasia. Some common aphasia treatments include:


Constraint-Induced Language Therapy (CILT)

This adult aphasia speech therapy technique aims to inhibit the use of gestures and make the patients use their words by playing a game. The primary goal of CILT is not for the patient to learn or gain new knowledge of language! The main goal is to develop an intentional bias to use spoken language.


CILT is guided by three principles namely:

  1. Massed practice

  2. Inhibit the use of gestures in all context

  3. Verbal communication

speech therapy activities for aphasia

Melodic intonation therapy

This adult speech therapy treatment uses melody and rhythm to help people with aphasia produce speech sounds. MIT is a formal language technique that uses an aphasic’s preserved singing ability to sing to improve language expression. It targets the musical element of speech (rhythm and melody). This aids in communication, as it activates the areas of the undamaged right cerebral hemisphere for language processing that is meant for the left cerebral hemisphere.


Speech-generating devices

These adult speech therapy devices allow people with aphasia to communicate by pressing buttons that produce pre-recorded or computer-generated speech. This is an approach to both receptive and expressive aphasia treatment that includes a flexible system of strategies and devices designed to supplement or replace, either permanently or temporarily, insufficient of ineffective communication skills.

Speech-generating devices can:

  1. Provides opportunities for persons with disabilities to meet their communication needs by participating in daily activities.

  2. To compensate for language impairments and facilitate the restoration of language.

  3. To support people with aphasia through adequate functional communication skills necessary for expressing their complex communication needs.

How can I find a speech therapist?

Seeking speech therapy after a stroke can be an important step to recovery. Speech-language pathologists are trained to treat aphasia. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with aphasia, ask your doctor for a referral to a speech-language pathologist. You can contact us at Better Speech for more information about finding a speech therapist in your area.

reading passages for adults speech therapy

Speech Therapy Activities for Aphasia


There are many different speech therapy activities that can help people with aphasia improve their communication skills at home. Such speech therapy can be particularly helpful for stroke patients or TBI patients. Here are a few examples:


1. Word games

One of the speech therapy activities for aphasia is word games. Word games can help improve vocabulary and word-finding skills! Word games work best if the game is played with a focus on a specific theme (e.g., animals, food, transportation, etc.). They can also be a fun way to practice communication!


Try playing some of these word games with a loved one:

  1. Scrabble

  2. Word Ladder

  3. Boggle

  4. Crosswords


2. Reading passages for adult speech therapy

Reading passage is another speech therapy activity for aphasia. This activity can help improve reading comprehension and fluency. It is a great way to practice language skills.

Reading passages for adults speech therapy include:

  1. Easy Reader Classics

  2. The Aphasia Reading List

  3. Any books


3. Communication boards

Communication boards are a great way to help people with aphasia communicate. They can be used to point to words or pictures to form sentences. They can be used to help with word-finding. Try making a communication board with a loved one. You can use pictures, words, or both.


4. Articulation exercises

Articulation exercises are speech therapy activity for aphasia. These exercises can help improve the clarity of speech.It is a great way to practice using different sounds.

Try doing some of these articulation exercises with a loved one:

  1. Tongue twisters

  2. Articulation cards


5. Life story activities

Life story activities are an important speech therapy activity for aphasia. They can help people with aphasia connect with their past and present. They can even help improve communication skills.


Try doing some of these life story activities with a loved one:

  1. Memory books

  2. Family tree

  3. Timeline of life events

speech therapy

6. Conversation starters

Conversation starters are a great way to help people with aphasia practice communication. They can be used to help break the ice in social situations.

Try using some of these conversation starters with a loved one:


  1. How was your day?

  2. What did you do today?

  3. What are your plans for tomorrow?

7. Social activities

Social activities are speech therapy activity for aphasia. They can help improve communication skills and social interaction. They can be a lot of fun for adults to recall.

Try doing some of these social activities with a loved one:

  1. Going for walks

  2. Playing games

  3. Going out to eat

Speech therapy activities should be tailored to the individual needs of each person with aphasia. Some people may benefit from one or two activities, while others may need a more comprehensive approach that includes several different types of activities. At Better Speech, we offer online speech therapy services convenient for you and tailored to your child's individual needs. Our services are affordable and effective - get Better Speech now.

 

About the Author

mikee slp

Mikee Larrazabal


I am a Speech-Language Pathologist with 14 years of experience working with children and adults who have communication difficulties. I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science at Cebu Doctors' University and have been helping people overcome their communication challenges ever since.


I have worked with individuals of different ages, including toddlers, preschoolers, school-aged children, adults and seniors. I'm passionate about speech therapy and take great satisfaction in helping people overcome their communication challenges and improve their lives through better communication skills. In my spare time I like reading books, going hiking in nature and taking care of my dog Locas.

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