Treating aphasia

May 14, 2009 3:21:02 PM PDT
A stroke or accident that injures the brain can leave people unable to speak, to understand and express language. This medical problem is called aphasia. Some doctors think a person's ability to overcome this condition is limited, but at the Adler Aphasia Center in Maywood, New Jersey, patients perform activities that aim to help them to improve.

"Most improvement happens in the first six months, but that's not to say they won't improve for the rest of their lives, and that's very much what we're about," said Karen Tucker, the center's executive director.

Vahan Khoyan had a stroke a few years ago. Like most people with aphasia, his intellect is completely intact, but speaking is a problem. For him, the center is a place to socialize and make friends, to break away from his solitude.

Patients like Vahan can participate in workout sessions. There are also computer classes that use special software designed to help those with aphasia regain language skills.

Mike Adler and his wife started the center after Mike's stroke. Mike says part of the treatment is to put patients in situations where they have to try to speak.

"To get the aphasics to lose themselves in thought and talk and talk and talk," said Mike.

The center is supported mostly by individual and corporate grants. Patients pay about $1,600 a year.

Web produced by Maura Sweeney


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