Thursday, August 6, 2009

Understanding People with Aphasia

Often times, Aphasia has a devastating effect on the sufferer and their family. Aphasia can turn an outgoing, gregarious person into an introverted wallflower.

I recently had the privilege to give speech therapy to a wonderful older lady suffering from Expressive Aphasia. Prior to her stroke and subsequent aphasia, she was very involved in her church. Her daughter spoke of her mother's involvement and the daughter would encourage her mother with the promise of future involvement with the church group.

My patient, the mother, told me repeatedly that she did not want to go back to church. "No one will understand me." "Everybody will be uncomfortable trying to talk to me." This woman had been attending this church for over 30 years. My heart broke for her. I set a personal goal that she was going back to church - at least once.

After several months of therapy, she did return to her church. To her surprise and delight, everyone was thrilled to see her. People made her feel comfortable. Her friends talked to her with no awkwardness. Everyone was so accepting. Hallelujah!

After her initial visit to church, I noticed a change in her attitude - a change in her demeanor. She had more confidence. She was motivated to do more.

Why do I tell you this story?

If you have a loved one suffering from Expressive Aphasia, they probably do not want to go back into a social setting any time soon. I strongly encourage you to softly and consistently encourage them to go somewhere that requires social interaction. At the same time, I encourage you to try and set up a very 'friendly' initial social setting that will insure success (ie. feeling good about communicating again) for your aphasia sufferer.

I wish you the Best!

If you need more Aphasia Therapy for Expressive Aphasia, go to my website We produce aphasia therapy on DVDs that can be used independently at home or in conjunction with your speech therapist.

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