June is Aphasia Awareness Month, and today on June 3 we recognise ‘Wednesday With our Words’.
Around 1,500 South Australians develop aphasia every year.
Wednesday With our Words is all about raising awareness around aphasia and debunking many of the myths and assumptions of those with the condition.
Aphasia is described as a loss of language skills and is often caused by a head injury, tumours, infections or inflammation in the brain and it can affect each individual differently.
Aphasia can often affect a number of different areas including:
• Understanding the speech of others
• Understanding numbers and money
The focus of Aphasia Awareness Month and ‘Wednesday With our Words’ is to encourage others to learn about aphasia and what it can affect but also what the capabilities are of someone with the condition.
Individuals with aphasia can range from having mild difficulties to much more severe complications.
Aphasia does not impact an individual’s competency or intelligence and they are still able to resolve problems and make decisions. Their thought processes are not affected but the delivery of their thoughts and messages may be impacted.
At HenderCare, our speech pathologists support adults with aphasia, who have suffered a stroke or brain injury, at all stages of their communication rehabilitation journey.
We work with individuals to identify their communication strengths and challenges and to prioritize therapy goals relating to what is most important to them in their daily life. We offer emotional support to our clients and their families, as they adjust to life with aphasia, and assist them in communicating and educating others about their aphasia.
Wherever possible, we provide assessment and intervention to support continued rehabilitation of speech, language, and functional communication skills.
Examples of therapy activities might include using interactive therapy apps or developing personalized photo cue cards. However, HenderCare speech pathologists always seek to encourage and support a total communication approach.
Total communication is the use of any and all means to get your message across or to support another person’s understanding. Total communication involves using speech (where possible) alongside natural gesture, demonstration, pointing to things and using written words, pictures or even drawings to communicate a message.
HenderCare speech pathologists also support our clients to explore alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) options which may assist them in expressing themselves or understanding others.
For some people, this may include an alphabet board, written word, or picture-based communication board/ book, or a ‘chat book’ with information and photos relating to the person’s life and what is most important to them. AAC can support a person to get their message across, communicate their choices, wishes and preferences and reduce the frustration they may experience when using speech alone.
Recent evidence indicates that it is never too late to assist a person with aphasia in further developing their communication skills.
At HenderCare we aim to support people with aphasia to have the communication skills, strategies and supports in place to be able to participate as actively as possible in the life that they want.
For more information on how the Allied Health team could assist you or a family member today, click here.