Debunking Aphasia Myths: SGDs, Continued Improvement, and Outcomes for the Elderly

Nov 29, 2012 | by Michele Hart-Henry

The brain is far more adaptable than science once believed. At Lingraphica, this has been the driving force behind decades of clinical research to improve language re-acquisition for adults with aphasia.

Through our research, we know that speech recovery is more effective when multiple areas of the brain are stimulated at once. So we design our speech-generating devices (SGDs) with features that specifically stimulate these areas so a person is in a heightened state of receptiveness for learning.

The result? According to research from Dr. Richard Steele, our chief scientist, these features create a far more effective communication tool for adults with aphasia, while debunking some of the long-held misconceptions about recovering from aphasia.

Continuing Improvements

The AllTalk, our laptop SGD, uses a vast array of icons, words, videos, and animations to help people better communicate. Our research shows that people who use the AllTalk improve their natural speech over the long term and become more adept at using the device for communication in everyday situations.

This finding directly contradicts one of the biggest misperceptions about language recovery. For decades it was thought improvements in communication following a stroke could occur only in the first six months of rehabilitation. We found that people with aphasia could make significant improvements in their communication skills months — even years — after their strokes. This is true even for people with more severe forms of aphasia.

Helping Young and Old Alike

Another significant find is that a person’s age does not affect outcomes when using SGDs. Even people in their 90s show improvement — debunking yet another myth that older people with aphasia are too old to learn new technology and recover speech. Whatever the age, our studies consistently show that overall user satisfaction with Lingraphica devices is high.

This research offers hope and optimism for people with aphasia — regardless of age or length of time since their strokes. But don’t take our word for it. Lingraphica offers free, no-obligation trials with both of our devices — the AllTalk and TouchTalk. Start a trial today and let us know what you think.

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