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Assessment & Treatment of Aphasia Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by

Assessment & Treatment of Aphasia

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.

Assessment of Aphasia

➢ Many standa­rdized tests available
➢ Initially often screening tools used or informal assessment
• Provides basic inform­ation on the patient’s language abilities
• Enables therapist/ team to pitch commun­ication at the level in which the patient unders­tands
or can express

1. General inform­ation

• Obtain medical history
• Obtain history from the patient or signif­icant other
• Determine the patient’s primary language
• Determine hearing status and visual acuity
• Determine the patient’s pre-morbid language abilities & educat­ional level
• Determine the patient’s cognitive function

2. Language compre­hension

• Does the patient appear to follow the conver­sation?
• Can they follow 1, 2, 3 -step commands
• Do they comprehend Yes/No questions reliably?
– Are you in the hospital?
– Do helico­pters eat their young?
• Do they understand gestures or non-verbal commun­ication
• Reading compre­hension

3. Expressive language

• Conver­sat­ional speech
– Fluent?
– Compre­hen­sible?
– Slow or laboured?
– Words or sentences?
– Paraph­asias?
• Naming:
– Confro­nta­tion: What’s this?
– Associ­ative: Pen and___, table and __
– Respon­sive: Where do you buy milk?
– Using names: Who is the Prime Minister?
• Can the person write?
– Own name, address, letters of the alphabet/ numbers, names of objects etc.
– In sentences?
→ SLP notes spelling errors/ substi­tut­ions/ omissions
- Observ­ations
- Getting ideas to figure out the type of aphasia the client has

Treatment of Aphasia

Factors to consider:
▪ Type and severity of impairment
▪ Motivation
▪ Medical needs/ condition
Treatments either:
▪ Restor­ative
▪ Compen­satory
Goals of therapy:
1. maximize recovery of impaired function
2. assist in the develo­pment of commun­ication strategies
3. help the patient adjust to the residual deficits of the brain injury

Restor­ative Approaches

Aim to recover skills
use intact abilities to commun­icate
cortical reorga­nis­ation of damaged hemisphere
increased involv­ement of undamaged areas
Treatment of auditory compre­hension and spoken language
directly stimulate specific listening, speaking, reading and writing skills
single word, sentence, and paragraph level
Broad number of techniques
Visual Action Therapy, Melodic Intonation Therapy, Constr­ain­t-i­nduced therapy
Trigger new neurons to act and stimulate these skills

Compen­satory Approaches

➢ Restor­ative Approaches may not be approp­riate because of the severity of the disorder
➢ Train the individual to use any means to commun­icate
▪ new or different ways of completing a task
▪ lessen the impact of their commun­ication difficulty
→ e.g. AAC/ commun­ication apps, writing or drawing etc.
➢ Focusing on commun­ication & partic­ipation rather than on recovery of speech alone
➢ Helping signif­icant others adjust to a new commun­ication style
➢ Compensate for the inability to restore old skills

Commun­ication Dos & Don’ts

➢ Talk to the person as an adult
➢ Simplify sentence structure & reduce your rate of speech
! but keep speech adult-like
➢ Minimize or eliminate background noise
➢ Make sure you have the person’s attention before commun­icating
➢ Encourage and use all modes of commun­ication
▪ Speech/ writing/ drawing / yes-no response
➢ Give them time to talk & permit a reasonable amount of time to respond
➢ Don’t finish sentences for the person with aphasia
➢ Accept all commun­ication attempts
➢ Keep trying
➢ They need to do it if they want to trigger these changes in the brain so don’t finish word for them