What 3 Cognitive Components Should You Work On For Aphasia?

Aphasia is a condition that reflects the loss of language. Depending on the nature of aphasia, a person may have trouble producing and/or understanding speech. Some people with aphasia may not understand spoken language but can understand written language, and vice versa. Everyone’s experience with aphasia is different and largely depends on the cause of the aphasia. Aphasia can be caused by experiencing a brain injury or a stroke. Primary progressive aphasia, a form of aphasia related to progressive dementia, is caused by the worsening progression of the disease.

People with aphasia may work with a speech therapist, a recreation therapist, or an activity director. These kinds of people may work on cognitive skills with a person that has aphasia, in order to help them better use and understand language. Digital cognitive therapy tools and cognitive worksheets may be used by these kinds of therapists to help patients learn and practice the necessary cognitive skills needed for producing and understanding language. 

What exactly are the 3 cognitive components therapists should work on with their patients that have aphasia? In this blog post, we will discuss the three areas of cognition you can help your patient with aphasia improve upon in order for them to better engage with the world around them by using language.

verbal memory for aphasia

Verbal Memory

Verbal memory is the ability to retain verbal information in either written or spoken form. Verbal memory is necessary to develop vocabulary, or the bank of words we use to produce sentences to express thoughts, ideas, and ourselves. When working on verbal memory, therapists may work with clients on learning words and their meanings, building retention strategies, word recognition, and helping patients recall information they have heard or read. 

Verbal Fluency

Patients with aphasia often have immense difficulty producing language. When speaking, someone with aphasia may say a word that sounds close to what they want to say, utter part of the word they want to say, or may only be able to produce some sounds. Working on verbal fluency is key, as this is necessary for people to speak and converse. Therapists can work on verbal fluency with patients by having them do exercises that require them to name objects, describe a scene in detail, or use cues to generate words that begin with certain letters. Working on verbal fluency will help your patient better utilize the vocabulary you are also helping them build.

Processing Speed

Processing speed is the most impacted cognitive function from brain injury and stroke. When people have a slow processing speed, the ability to intake, process, and use information become significantly impaired. Aphasia can cause someone to have difficulty understanding incoming information or respond inappropriately to information they have just read or heard. Working on processing speed can help your patient with aphasia better intake, process, and use incoming information. This will help your patient with aphasia better participate in conversations with others and retain the information they read in a book.

Why should I work on these 3 cognitive components for aphasia?

Aphasia is a disorder caused by damage to the brain. When damage occurs to the brain, cognitive functioning is impaired depending on the location and severity of the damage. With aphasia, a person may have trouble producing and or understanding language. By only working on speech or comprehension, the cognitive functions that support language are not exercised, which may lead to continued impairment. When therapists address the cognitive deficits behind aphasia, they can better help their patients engage with language in their everyday lives. Therapists can help their patients with aphasia rebuild these 3 cognitive components by using HappyNeuron Pro and by using HappyNeuron Pro’s cognitive worksheets. 

Jenna Doran

Jenna Doran is a rising Senior at Temple University studying English and Psychology. She is very excited to be joining the HappyNeuron Pro team as the Content Marketing Intern this summer. Jenna has completed past internships and held leadership positions in extracurriculars dedicated to mental health and wellness programming and development. She is looking forward to utilizing these skills and working with the team!

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