June is National Aphasia Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Aphasia Association. Aphasia affects about 2,000,000 people in the US and is most often caused by stroke, brain injury or tumor, or other neurological condition. It affects a person’s ability to use and understand language, but not their intellect. A person with aphasia may not be able to retrieve the right name or word when speaking, or may have difficulty reading and processing written language.
Two completed NIDILRR-funded projects have created tools you can use as a therapist, a caregiver, or a person experiencing aphasia.
The Communication Matrix is an online assessment tool designed to pinpoint exactly how an individual is communicating and to provide a framework for determining logical communication goals. It was developed and field tested through a NIDILRR grant. Although it was originally designed for educators working with children with disabilities, many therapists, caregivers, and individuals have used it to create communication profiles for people with aphasia and other communication disorders. It’s free of charge and available in several languages.
Oral Reading for Language in Aphasia is a treatment program studied under several NIDILRR-funded projects. The intervention encourages better language processing through repeated reading aloud of sentences and paragraphs. The ORLA program is available for purchase from the Rehab Institute of Chicago Center for Aphasia Research and Treatment. RIC tested a version of ORLA to improve writing, too!
In addition to these, you may be interested in NIDILRR-funded articles, books, reports, and other material on aphasia and its treatment available from our collection. We also have a wealth of publications from other sources which you may find helpful.
Are you a person experiencing aphasia or a caregiver? Some additional resources that offer information and support:
- Find local support through the National Aphasia Association.
- Contact your state’s assistive technology project for a demonstration of communication aids.
- Read more about communication issues following stroke from the National Stroke Association.