What is aphasia?

Aphasia is a communication disorder that affects speaking, understanding, reading, writing, and even using gestures or sign language. The most common cause of aphasia is stroke, but it can also be caused by other brain injuries. 

There are different types of aphasia, depending on where the damage is in the brain. Aphasia can also be more or less severe. The most common problem with aphasia is word finding. People know what something is, and they know what they think and feel. They simply can’t find the words to express themselves. Some people have mild difficulties finding their words; others struggle to understand and to produce any words at all.

stroke, brain injury, aphasia, word-finding
          Click on the poster for a full-page view

Can I recover from aphasia?

We used to think that there was a limited time to recover from aphasia. After that window of opportunity, there was little hope for improvement. We now know that people can improve even years after a stroke. Engaging in conversation, getting on with your life, and treatment all help.  New treatments focus on the person with aphasia, their communication partners, and their participation in life. A therapist who is experienced with aphasia can ensure that you get the full benefit of treatment.

 There is hope! People with aphasia can communicate more effectively and participate in their lives more actively.

What services does SpeechWorks offer for aphasia?

At SpeechWorks, we provide individual assessment and treatment for aphasia, including intensive treatment. We teach family members to support communication. Online or tablet-based home practice exercises maximize recovery.

Our most popular program is our 12-week program. We start with an assessment and then provide 10 weeks of treatment. Like all our treatment at SpeechWorks, we focus on helping you to communicate what’s important to you.

Many of our clients with aphasia participate in StoryTelling. This group provides lots of opportunities to communicate with help from staff and volunteers. It takes place in our relaxed, comfortable living room.

What about research?

Allison Baird and Stephanie Harvey participated in research examining whether telehealth and in-person treatment are equally effective for post-stroke communication disorders. The results were presented to the Canadian Stroke Congress as the poster Does Distance Make a Difference?, and published in the article Computer-based treatment of post-stroke language disorders: non-inferiority study of telerehabilitation compared to in-person service delivery in Aphasiology.