Treatment process focuses on helping the individual to communicate as effectively as possible in everyday life and is often tailored to an individual depending on the difficulties the individual is experiencing. There is no single approach proven to be affective alone, however effective management can be achieved through combination therapy. Often treatment processes are conducted by a team of speech and language therapist, where techniques are used to address individual difficulties. Examples of techniques may include:
- Matching words to pictures or sorting words with their meanings for patients who have trouble understanding words
- They may ask you to judge if certain words rhyme or repeat words that they say for patients who have trouble expressing themselves.
- Teaching techniques to communicate other than talking such as using gestures, drawings, and communication charts.
- Specially designed electronic devise may be used for patients who have difficulty speaking but can still write or type for example voice output communication aids (VOCA) which uses a computer-generated voice to play messages outloud.
- They may also include group therapy where family members and even other patients with dysphasia practice conversational skills by rehearsing common scenarios such as participating in a telephone call.
Australian aphasia association: http://www.aphasia.org.au/
Language is the process where thoughts and ideas become spoken or written. It involves the selection of words to bedelivered and the organization of these words to formulate sentences and phrases.Dysphasia is the impairment in language skills due to damage to the left side of the brain. This is to be differentiated to dysarthria which refers to the impairment in speech. Dysgraphia results in changes in certain area of communication such as understanding, talking, reading, and writing. Different areas are affected differently in individuals.
There are two known types of dysphasia:
- Receptive: Refers to patients with dysphasia who are able to produce fluent speech sounds but have no meaning. Patients are not able to comprehend meaning and deliver meaningful messages.
- Expressive: The patient can comprehend language that is written or spoken to them but have difficulty delivering the message by writing or speech. In this type, patients are able to select words of meaning but are unable to formulate coherency in their sentences or phrases. i.e. unable to form language
Conditions that can cause dysgraphia may include:
- Stroke; reduce blood supply to the brain or bleeding in the brain
- Trauma to the brain as a result of an accident, infection, or toxic substance
- Degenerative diseases such as dementia
- Brain tumours
Signs and symptoms of dysphasia may include:
- The inability to comprehend meaning (understand meaning)
- The inability to pronounce letter and words for reasons other than muscle paralysis or weakness.
- Demonstrates poor written and verbal output
- Demonstrates difficulty in forming words
- Demonstrates difficulty in the ability to speak in grammatically correct fashion
- Incomplete sentences
- Difficulty in labelling objects or recognising objects
Diagnosis of a learning disability is a process involving history taking, observations of the patient and testing by trained specialist. For a more accurate diagnosis, the process usually involves a multidisciplinary team where a number of healthcare professionals may be involved. Often the diagnostic process may involve input from school teachers and even your doctor.
Your multidisciplinary team may include:
- Clinical psychologist
- School Psychologist
- Child Psychiatrist
- Educational psychologist
- Occupational therapist
- Speech and language therapist
Getting a diagnosis is very important in that it allows early intervention to help the individual to manage symptoms due to dysphasia and provide better quality of life for both carer’s and patient.