How and Why You Need to Start an Aphasia Support Group
Aphasia is a devastating result of a stroke that can impair a person’s ability to produce and understand language. Aphasia is life-changing, and routine tasks become challenging. Communication is a socially dependent skill and relies heavily on the language section of the brain. Because of this, many people with aphasia start to isolate and withdraw from society. Being unable to communicate or understand language after a stroke leaves many people feeling socially burdensome; it is in these instants when depression may increase. This and many other reasons are why it is essential to develop an aphasia support group.
Why You Should Start an Aphasia Support Group?
Aphasia support groups provide an opportunity for people with aphasia to communicate with one another. These types of support groups provide an opportunity for speech-language pathologists to study and understand the strengths and weaknesses of their clients. It creates an environment that allows people with similar struggles normalize themselves and an opportunity to A review of the literature surrounding aphasia therapy has shown that aphasia support groups provide an opportunity for people with aphasia to practice communication skills in a more natural way.
What kind of activities do I do?
There is a wide variety of different activities one can do. Some activities provided during aphasia support groups may include specialized communication therapy such as constraint-induced language therapy (CILT), discussion, relaxation, and education. These activities offer help to people with aphasia to improve specific language skills and connect with other people that also have aphasia in their community.
Benefits of Starting a Group
Providing an aphasia support group, either in-person or through telepractice has many benefits. The top key benefits are:
- People with aphasia to learn new communication techniques from group members.
- The more time an SLP can spend with a patient, the better the patient will get. Whether it is individually or in a group any time spent with an SLP is beneficial.
- Avoid self-isolating tendencies by connecting people with aphasia with other people who experience the same challenges.
- Every participant gets the opportunity to practice their language skills.
How to run an Aphasia support group
Aphasia support groups can be run in a small office, rehabilitation facility, or a community center. Some groups may meet virtually and implement the use of digital cognitive therapy tools that provide cognitive exercises for language skills. You can learn to start your own aphasia support group by visiting: “Great tips on starting a support group”.
Can I use a Digital Tool During Groups?
Yes, some support groups actively use digital cognitive therapy tools. An SLP may choose a setting that offers access to one or more computers. SLPs may also make use of print materials, like cognitive worksheets that focus on specific language skills.
While aphasia is a devastating result of a stroke, SLPs can provide clients with aphasia in their community support by giving aphasia focused support group. In the aphasia support group, an SLP can help members practice their language skills with a variety of different activities. These groups can be run either in person or through telepractice. Aphasia support groups are a valuable resource for communities, as over 1 million Americans have reported having aphasia, according to the National Aphasia Association.
For more information on the efficacy of aphasia support groups, read the source article available on ResearchGate.net.
Source: Cason, J. (2014). Telehealth: A rapidly developing service delivery model for occupational therapy. International Journal of Telerehabilitation, 6(1), 29. [Article]