Aphasia

When a stroke affects the left side of the brain, it can impair a person’s use of language – the ability to communicate thoughts, to understand what others are saying, to speak, read, and/or write. This is called aphasia.

Although some patients recover from aphasia after a stroke within a matter of hours or days, others need extensive stroke rehab services. At UT Southwestern, we offer treatment for aphasia that focuses on relearning and practicing language skills. It also involves teaching patients alternative or supplementary communication methods.

Diagnosis

Some patients, such as those who have suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA), may recover from aphasia without treatment. Most stroke patients, however, will need speech-language therapy as soon as possible for aphasia.

Our first step is to evaluate a patient’s level of aphasia. This includes using a series of tests to assess language skills. Our stroke rehab experts ask patients to follow commands, answer questions, name objects, and converse.

We may also use imaging techniques to study the area of your brain that was damaged by the stroke. With this information, we can determine the type of aphasia you have and what treatments will be most effective.

Treatments

We will individualize a treatment plan for each patient, based on the type and level of severity of a patient’s stroke. Treatments include:

  • Cognitive linguistic therapy – Emphasizes the emotional aspects of language
  • Programmed simulation – Uses multiple sensory modalities
  • Stimulation-facilitation therapy – Focuses on the semantic and syntactic parts of language
  • Group therapy – Gives patients the opportunity to practice their skills
  • PACE (Promoting Aphasic's Communicative Effectiveness) – Promotes improvements in communication by using conversation as a tool for learning
  • Pharmacotherapy – Uses medications to enhance therapy

Comprehensive Stroke Rehabilitative Care for Aphasia

Our team provides specialized rehab care for all types of aphasia, including:

  • Broca’s aphasia – Trouble speaking fluently but comprehension is intact (also known as nonfluent or expressive aphasia)
  • Wernicke’s aphasia – Impaired ability to grasp the meaning of spoken words (also known as receptive or fluent aphasia)
  • Global aphasia – The most severe form, characterized by a decreased ability to produce recognizable words and understand language 

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with an aphasia specialist at UT Southwestern’s facilities in Dallas or to learn more about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.