June is Aphasia Awareness

Aphasia is an acquired language disorder that is relatively unknown in the general population. Speech and language therapy are often prescribed by physicians and incorporate the unique skills and training of speech-language pathologists in the rehabilitative realm (Doogan et al., 2018). Beyond the actual presence of aphasia, the severity and clinical complexity impact the patient’s outcomes and the overall prognosis for language recovery. The highest negative relationship is related to any underlying neurological condition, such as dementia, and global illnesses, such as cancer (Doogan et al., 2018).  The amount of therapy a patient has access to is directly related to the outcomes observed such that higher doses of treatment result in better outcomes, holding all things equal (Doogan et al., 2018).  Timing of intervention and the patient’s baseline prior to the event causing aphasia, such as stroke or brain injury, are also critical pieces to determining recovery (Ali et al., 2021). Essentially, access to early intervention is critical for outcomes from the hospital phase into rehabilitation where dosage of intervention then becomes the next critical element (Ali et al., 2021).  Further, the components of language that are recovered are dependent on the intensity of stimulation to the respective region of the brain (Stefaniak et al., 2022).  The unique role of speech language pathologists in this recovery is in understanding the specific area of the brain affected and its connection to the language system. Treatment is then created to target stimulation to this area (Stefaniak et al., 2022).  The role of respective therapists in this space is in the sharing of treatment strategies and carryover to support recovery. Aphasia is a condition that impacts quality of life to a level that creates isolation and can have significant impact on a patient’s mood. Effective treatment is not only critical but essential for a return to social engagement and overall quality of life.

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