Saturday, December 26, 2015

Does the Speech Language Pathologist fix Aphasia with Speech Therapy?

Mark A. Ittleman
The Teaching of Talking
December 17 / 2015

Does the speech language pathologist have the time to really fix a severe speaking difficulty caused by aphasia?  An interesting course from fellow expert in the field of speech language pathology, Dr. Audrey Holland.   She is frequently called upon to address aphasia groups, and speech language pathologists.  This is what she said:

"We are still “shaking off” our history, (as speech language pathologists) with its focus on impairment & wishfully thinking we have enough time to fix the speech impairment.” (aphasia)

"WE DON'T!" Even if we see a client every day for a year for ONE hour, that is 365 hours out of a likely awake time of 4,380 hours. That ’s just 1/12 of his or her time."

Other points made by Dr. Audrey Holland, of which I agree are as follows:
  1. Many clients believe the speech language pathologist is the "FIXER," meaning they "FIX" the speech problem caued by the aphasia.
  2. Holland said:  “It is unrealistic to believe that we can FIX an aphasia due to the time limitations of Medicare and insurance companies.”
Dr. Holland also noted:  "Individuals seldom recover completely from aphasia, except when it is initially very mild."  (Having worked with those who have aphasia myself, for over 40 years I would agree totally with that statement.)

"We probably will not have enough time with our clients to reach maximum recovery." she said.

That is why therapists and speech language pathologists are training caregivers, family members and others to play a vital and significant role in the speech therapy and language recovery process and to learn what to do to help our loved ones speak.

The speech language pathologist can not and will not fix this problem since it is one that will take months or even years to significantly improve upon.  The therapist and caregiver must learn the best methods to improve communication for the client, share them, and then allow the client to be stimulated at home by the caregiver or family member for as long as necessary.

I believe those with aphasia who have made the greatest improvement in speaking recovery also had someone at home who stood by that person with the speaking difficulty and stimulated their talking all throughout the day, week, month, year and lifetime with tried and proven methods.”

To find out how you can learn ways to help those with aphasia improve speaking or communication, click here:

Talking and communication is what speech therapy is all about.

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Moshe Mark Ittleman, M.S., CCC/SLP
Author:  Teaching of Talking and Teaching of Talking Training

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