Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Devastating Statement in Aphasia Therapy:
      “You have reached plateau.”

Mark A. Ittleman
The Teaching of Talking
December 16 / 2015

I’ll make this as brief as I can since it is a common occurrence in the rehabilitation field. It involves telling the person who is receiving rehabilitation they have “reached a plateau.” I have seen the devastation of what that can do. I have seen the depression, angst, and feelings of diminished self worth and hopelessness that a client or family member feels.

Often in human endeavors people have said: “That can’t be done.” “It’s impossible,” or there is “no way you will ever walk or talk again!” We have read the stories of people who have overcome adversities and refused to listen to “educated opinions.”  When people don’t want to exert themselves the conversation frequently leads to the opinion that it is not achievable.

I knew of a man who was in such despair after being told that he had reached a plateau, that he took his own life. His wife thought that the “professional should know,” and therefore did not question the recommendation to stop therapy. She later started seeking other professionals to help her husband but unfortunately it was too late.

Please realize that the “plateau” is a common term used when the clinician or therapy institution does not have any more answers. Realize that it could mean you have drained the “knowledge base” there, and that it is time to seek other opinions, institutions, or professionals who may know of other ways to deal with the rehabilitation challenge. To find out more about other alternatives click here:

Mark A. Ittleman, M.S., CCC/SLP
Senior Speech Language Pathologist
Author:     “Teaching of Talking”

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