Researchers study aphasia in universities and hospitals around the world. This research produces therapies that are appropriate and effective.
There are two types of research for aphasia, basic and clinical.
Basic research helps us understand the nature of aphasia and its consequences. Some research provides scientific evidence for what you already know about yourself. Research simply confirms these things for others with aphasia.
- Our therapy depends on how well we understand aphasia. We have learned that:
- aphasia is an impairment of language, not intellect. Therefore, therapy is aimed at language, not memory and thinking.
- aphasia is not a loss of the language we know; instead, it impairs the ability to retrieve words and sentences. Therefore, someone with aphasia does not have to learn a whole language all over again.
Clinical research develops methods of assessment and therapies directly. Also, it determines the effectiveness of therapies. We have learned:
- Basic therapies help most people with aphasia to comprehend and talk better.
- Nearly everyone with aphasia learns to communicate better, using all available means.
Advances in technology have improved the study of aphasia:
- Doctors can view brain while a person is doing a therapy activity. They can also see how the brain is working before and after a period of treatment. Therefore, we do not have to guess about whether therapy changes the brain.
- Computers enable researchers to study subtle aspects of language comprehension and production. Computers can control the timing of stimuli, and computers can measure very fast responses.
- Computers are also used to provide therapy for language improvement. When using language is difficult, computers provide another way of communicating.
If you would like to participate in research, you can find requests for participants on-line. Here are some suggested search engine terms:
- “aphasia research participants”
- “aphasia clinical trials”
At some point, you may find that a request for participants is closed. Just keep looking, and have your language therapist help you.
For more information, you can also read the NAA’s Guide for Evaluating Therapy and Research Claims.
Written by G. Albyn Davis, Ph.D., CCC-SLP (June 2013)