What is aphasia?
Aphasia is a language impairment that affects a person’s ability to communicate. Speaking, understanding language, reading and/or writing can all be affected. Aphasia occurs most often as a result of stroke, but can be caused due to any trauma to the language areas of the brain. Aphasia does not affect a person’s intelligence – people with aphasia are competent adults.
What services does the City Speech Centre provide?
Due to this resultant breakdown in communication, the person with aphasia is at risk for social isolation, loss of relationships and overall reduced quality of life. In Canada, one third of all stroke survivors are living with chronic aphasia – the services we provide aim to reduce the negative impact aphasia can have on the life roles and identity of the person with aphasia. This is achieved through working with the person with aphasia and/or their families and friends, as needed.
- Client-centred intervention
The Speech-Language Pathologist’s goal is to work with the person with aphasia on the activities that they prioritize. The communication tools needed for these activities become the communication goals for the therapy sessions. Examples of goals may include working on communication for interactions with family and friends, as well as more functional activities such as communication strategies for banking, ordering at a coffee house or restaurant etc.
- Conversation groups for people with aphasia
Many people with aphasia feel isolated and alone with their impairment. Conversation groups for people with aphasia serve two core purposes – practicing communication in a safe environment, while also benefitting from the support of peers who have experienced the same challenges and losses. Aphasia can have a devastating impact on a person’s ability to create new relationships – conversation groups are just one way of promoting connections between others, while having fun in a social environment.
- Education and training: Training in Supported Conversation for Adults with Aphasia (SCA™)
Communication is a two-way street. To be successful it requires the communicators to enter into a partnership of both giving and receiving information. Aphasia affects this partnership. Both the person with aphasia and the communication partner are now challenged in these roles. SCA™ is a method that helps people with aphasia and their conversation partners to re-engage in successful conversations using taught strategies and techniques. SCA™ puts the onus of communication on the person with aphasia and their communication partner. Training is available to people with aphasia, their families and other healthcare professionals and service providers.
- Support Groups for Caregivers
Aphasia impacts everyone whose lives it touches– both the person with aphasia themselves and family and friends. Support groups are available for spouses, family members and close friends that will provide the aforementioned SCA™ training, as well as support for the role of caregiver.
Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA)
PPA is a cognitive impairment with one of its symptoms being a gradual loss of language overtime. People with PPA and their families can benefit from SCA™ training to help preserve language ability for as long as possible. In addition to providing this training, support and education for this impairment can be provided throughout sessions, for individuals, couples and groups.