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Aphasia Common For Those Suffering A Stroke

The Speech-Language Institute (SLI) of Salus University serves patients with a wide variety of speech, language, communication, feeding and swallowing disorders. Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) faculty and students work closely with clients and their families in order to create treatment plans tailored to each client.

Aphasia – difficulty understanding speech properly – is one of the most common speech-language deficits people may have after suffering a stroke. SLI facilities support groups for multiple conditions with the clinic and community – including a support group for aphasia.

Here SLI clinical educator Alison Briggs-Finkelstein, MA, CCC-SLP, along with students Kylie DiGiacomo ‘24SLP and India Jenkins-Brown ‘24SLP, speaks to an Aphasia support group.

Alison Briggs-Finkelstein: One of the things they do in preparing for the group is generally coming up with a theme or a topic that they provide a little bit of education to the clients at the beginning of the meeting and then they draw the clients in through discussion on that particular topic.

Kylie DiGiacomo: It’s really nice to see because in the clinic I’m working one-on-one with clients and it's a lot of therapy. Where in the patient support group, it's more learning about some of the challenges they experience daily.

Eric C., client at SLI: I like it very much. I met Frank, Denise, and I talked to them on Zoom. Then I had an opportunity to meet them when the students led the discussion.

Denise M., client at SLI: It's just so nice to be in a room with a group of people who get your frustrations, your disappointments, your accomplishments. They cheer along with you when you do well and they'll pat you on the back when some things aren't going so well.

India Jenkins-Brown: In the book we see, we just see a diagnosis, right? Versus the client is the diagnosis, but it's also their life situations and so much more to add to that. So I think that gave us just a great experience.

Here are some tips on how to help communicate with someone who has aphasia:

  • Try to get the individual’s attention before you start speaking and maintain eye contact the entire time.
  • Try to avoid background noise and communicate simply and slowly to the person.
  • Don’t talk down to someone with aphasia.
  • Most importantly, encourage the individual to join in normal activities and to be independent whenever possible. 

If you or a loved one is experiencing communication difficulties after a stroke or another traumatic brain injury, the Speech-Language Institute of Salus University has a team of trained speech-language pathologists that can help. The Speech-Language Institute also has an Aphasia Support Group – an affiliate of the National Aphasia Association - for adults that have had either a stroke or brain injury and have difficulty communicating.

Sign up for a support group here or call 215.780.3150.