A 6-Step Aphasia Treatment Guide (That ANYONE Can Follow)
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In this article, I will start off with a little background on aphasia. For readers that are already aware of what the basics of aphasia are, you can skip ahead to step 1 below.
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After being involved in an accident, it is possible to sustain head injuries that may reach the left hemisphere of the brain. So, since this part of the brain is tasked with ability to monitor speech, one may end up having speech impairment. This is a condition known as aphasia.
That being said, aphasia can be described as a condition that impacts reduced speech coordination in patients suffering from a stroke.
A lot of my life insurance clients are concerned about being denied a policy because of aphasia. This has inspired me to research aphasia and try to help them with information they told me that they found useful.
Research findings show that approximately 40% of stroke patients in the U.S. suffer from aphasia at some point in their recovery time.
However, suffering from aphasia doesn’t mean that you will never be able to speak anymore. With these home exercises, you can help reactivate neuroplasticity and regain your speech abilities.
Learning how to speak again after post-stroke aphasia involves learning what to say, how to say it, when to breathe between the words and how to construct full sentences.
Step 1 - Word Games To Help With Aphasia Treatment At Home
Word games such as crosswords, word searches and Sudoku can help you rebuild your speech. They help you make a clear picture of the word you are searching because as you search, you are also pronouncing them inwardly.
This inward pronunciation will eventually lead to mumbling the words. So after some time, you will find yourself pronouncing the words. Although not as clearly in the initial stages, you will eventually get there.
Figuring out the pronunciation of words in your brain first becomes much easier when it comes to the actual pronunciation through the mouth.
As you try to guess what word fits that specific puzzle, other parts of the brain are being activated to take over speech coordination.
Step 2 - Naming Pictures To Help With Aphasia Treatment
This exercise works by you looking at pictures, and trying to figure out what it depicts. After that, trying to pronounce the words or phrases that come to your mind about the picture.
This works because while most stroke patients suffering from aphasia struggle with speech, some may have difficulty trying to form the words in their minds. After mastering the words or phrases in the picture, try to pronounce it as many times as possible.
Again, the connection between the content in the picture and the word in your mind may not come so soon. However, it will eventually come after intensive practice.
Don’t ever give up. We each have our own unique timeline.
Step 3 - Breathing Exercises To Help With Aphasia Treatment
Experts say that the main symptom of aphasia in people with stroke is the difficulty in breathing. When this happens, it becomes difficult or almost impossible to construct sentences because you keep pausing sentences to take many unnecessary breaths.
The good news is that you can learn to hold your breath while speaking, right at home.
Try this while blowing bubbles!
Try to hold and release your breaths at different timed intervals that are seconds apart. Gradually increase the length of time. You may not achieve this instantly but with repeated practice, you will finally make it.
After you have mastered holding breaths, then speaking sentences becomes easier because you do not have to keep pausing between the phrases.
Step 4 - Tongue strength exercises to help with Aphasia Treatment
After being involved in an accident, some people experience post-stroke aphasia, a condition that also affects the mobility of the tongue.
Hence, impacting speech coordination.
To help strengthen the tongue muscles and regain speech, try moving it around with your fingers. Let it stay out for some time before putting it back.
Alternatively, try to roll it around as well as up/down/left/right. Also, trying moving it to both edges of the mouth. You can try touching the inner sides of your mouth using your tongue.
Repeat this for as much as the tongue does not feel numb. With time, the tongue muscles will gain strength and saying words and phrases will be much easier.
Step 5 - Sentence practice to help with Aphasia Treatment
As much as pronouncing words is difficult among aphasia patients, speaking a sentence or phrase is even harder. So before you come to the point of trying to speak phrases, you should have completely learned how to speak individual words clearly and correctly.
This is because with words and phrases, you start with one word. Then a progress to a few words until you learn to speak many words in a sentence.
Just like with single words, try speaking one phrase a couple of times until you perfect it.
Then progress to many phrases and you are good to go. To make this easy, you can get some pictures first.
Now try to figure out the phrases they carry, and then say them as many times as you possibly can.
Step 6 - Speech sounds that help with Aphasia Treatment
Just like kids learn how to speak syllables, try to say speech sounds like ha, al, at, as, am, …ack and so forth.
Usually, this is the first stage of improving aphasia so do not be discouraged or focus so much on speaking whole sentences and end up giving up on speech sounds.
The sentences will be born out of the speech sounds so keep doing it until you get the sounds clear and right. But even as you do this, try to say them as loud as you can so that you can strengthen the vocal cords.
The more they vibrate during the speech sounds – the stronger they will get – and the faster you will be able to speak again.
In your journey to improve post-stroke aphasia, the role of your family members are very critical. They help you set practice quizzes, show you flashcards as well as motivating you to keep moving.
If you have no one around the home, you can use mobile phone apps; these can help you learn speech sounds, phrases, and you will eventually be able to speak again.
Most importantly; read, watch and listen to stroke aphasia recovery stories from other people who have been down that road before.
These experiences will give you some motivation and the strength to move forward. Knowing that you are not alone, and that you too will eventually make it.
About the author
Victor Vega has over a decade of experience in working with individuals regarding their personal finances after starting in 2007 at Merrill Lynch as a financial advisor. I started Garden Mutual in 2020 so that you could have access to a life insurance agent that puts your interests first! As an independent agent, I work with over 10 carriers. This means that my loyalty is to my customer and not any one particular insurance company . Let me provide you with objective information that you can use to pick the best life insurance policy for yourself today. We are always looking to improve ourselves for your benefit!
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