Aphasia is caused by damage to areas of the brain that are responsible for using and comprehending language. Get some basic facts on the treatment of aphasia from this article.
Aphasia is defined as, “An inability to use or understand language (spoken or written) because of a brain lesion”. In other words, any damage to the portions of the brain which take care of communication, results in the condition of aphasia. The severity or of the condition is governed by the magnitude of the brain damage. Factors which cause this condition to occur will be discussed in brief as we proceed further. Aphasia treatment mainly involves targeting the underlying cause of the condition, followed by different sets of relearning-communication methods, which would also be discussed in this article.
Aphasia Causes and Symptoms
Stroke happens to be the most common culprit for causing brain damage and eventually, aphasia. Stroke is a condition where the brain suffers blockage or rupture of its blood vessels. This in turn, may lead to brain cell death or damage to the areas of the brain controlling language. Apart from stroke, factors like brain tumor, infection or certain degenerative medical condition are also known to cause the same. Stroke may cause a sudden onset of aphasia, while other factors may cause the condition to come on gradually.
As mentioned earlier, aphasia affects the patient’s ability to express or understand written and spoken language. This may include symptoms like forming sentences which do not make any sense, speaking words which are unrecognizable, and speaking in incomplete sentences. The patient also loses the ability to comprehend what the other person is saying and may begin to commit spelling errors.
The person also remains unable to write comprehensible sentences and somehow he begins to interpret figurative language literally. There are instances where a person, although he is able to comprehend conversation, but is not able to express himself. Likewise, some may understand what they are reading, but still can’t speak to others.
Treatment Options for Aphasia
People suffering from mild brain damage, generally, are able to relearn language skills without any treatment. This may not be true in case of severe damage, where people are put on speech and language therapy to rehabilitate their language skills. Treating aphasia mainly involves speech and language rehabilitation. It is, however, is a slow process. Not all patients are able to have a complete recuperation from such a condition.
Treating the condition with therapy is the most effective when initiated soon after the injury has occurred. The person responsible for conducting the therapy usually conducts exercises to improve and practice the communication skills. This usually comprises naming different objects. Gradually, these exercises may progress into more complicated steps like explaining the purpose of the named object. People may also be taught to make use of gestures and drawings to help them communicate. Book or board with pictures and words may also be used as helpful tools to help patients recall commonly used words.
In some cases, the treatment plan for aphasia also involves real-life participating programs. Here, people will go to different places and apply what they have learned. Working in groups help building moral support of patients, as they get a safe environment to try out their communication skills. Initiating conversations, clarifying mistakes, fixing broken sentences, etc., are all a part of working in a group. Some people also benefit by the use of computers, to help them relearn verbs, words and sounds.
Apart from the above treatment methods, it is also important to consider the attitude or behavior of friends and family members of an aphasia patient. Understanding the situation of the patient, helping him/her to cope with different conditions, and keeping oneself abreast of the latest developments in the treatment of aphasia, could also provide a great deal of support and strength to the affected one.