Every year, millions of people suffer cerebrovascular accidents. According to the Portuguese Stroke Society, it is estimated that, in Portugal, every hour, three people suffer a stroke, which causes motor, cognitive or language and speech sequelae. One of the sequels is Aphasia. Aphasia is a communication disorder that affects a person's ability to express themselves verbally, to understand what others say and/or to read, write or make gestures. Aphasia does not affect intelligence.
Aphasia symptoms vary from individual to individual, but, in general, it can be pointed out:
- Difficulty finding the words when speaking, although you know what you want to communicate
- Substituting words or sounds when speaking, for example saying "milk" instead of "juice"
- Speak using short or incomplete sentences
- Difficulty understanding what others say
- Difficulty understanding what is read or reading aloud
- Difficulty writing words or sentences
- Difficulty in gesturing or understanding the gestures made by others
In causing difficulties in the ability to communicate with others, Aphasia compromises participation and autonomy, with important consequences for the quality of life of people with aphasia, family and friends.
How Can Speech Therapy Help?
The monitoring of people with aphasia, family members and/or caregivers by Speech Therapy is essential to enhance the functionality of communication, at any stage of recovery from the disease.
Speech Therapy intervenes in language recovery, through oral and written language stimulation techniques, and in the development of strategies that enhance effective communication. It is essential that therapy does not focus only on the person with aphasia. Thus, the speech therapist works together with other relevant partners (eg, other health professionals, family members, friends) on how to use strategies that can serve as a communicative “ramp” and thus increase communication success and conversational opportunities.
29th October 202129, October 2021