Archive for November, 2012

Aphasia Recovery with Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

November 21, 2012

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a highfalutin term that encompasses all forms of communication other than oral speech. When an aphasic stroke victim experiences severe language difficulties, or when recovery proceeds more slowly than they wish, AAC may be a boon. Traditionally, AAC has included facial expression, gestures, pictures and letter boards. Today, electronic devices with apps are included.

In a small group discussion, VA Merit Grant Phonomotor Treatment study participants shared some of the AAC electronic devices they used. Some of the participants could speak, but writing was difficult. Some were not able to read, but could understand what was spoken to them. Some of the devices they used spoke out text messages, emails, letters and even books for them. Others translated the aphasic’s speech to written words.

Programs that read text out loud:

WYNN™Literacy Software

Washington Talking Book and Braille Library They have devices that read audio-books, and you can adjust settings like reading speed (slow, fast).

This is the program John talked about. Program: Kerzweil 3000, Scanner: FujitsuS1500 (for PC) / FujitsuS1500M (forMac)

Dragon software: converts speech to text (so you can speak emails, text messages, etc..Below is the link for purchasing Dragon. I believe you can also download an app for iPhones.


Ever Note: memory and organizational aid

SIRI for iPhone: voice activated; (only works with certain versions of iPhone; check with your provider to see if you have Siri).

Web search keyword: “Augmentative and alternative communication”


Carol Cline Schultz, Author

Crossing the Void: My Aphasic Journey

Aphasia Recovery and Oral Reading

November 3, 2012

When aphasia took my words, I wanted to meet someone who had recovered from it. I wanted to know how they did it. In the end, the how that worked for me came with great difficulty because it did not come from speech therapists.

At that time, traditional aphasia therapy emphasized learning one word at a time. Yet the one word at a time approach was too high a threshold for me because the foundation of speech is in the sounds that words make. Assisted by school teacher friends, I learned to speak by learning to read aloud. Although I did not know what was happening at the time, it was because I was first forced to absorb sounds (phonics) before I could process words.

Oral reading was not completely foreign to the speech profession at the time, but it was not utilized. A report by Ron Cole and Leora Cherney wrote about Oral Reading for Language in Aphasia with Virtual Therapist (ORLA) studies conducted in 1986 and 1995. They stated, “Interestingly, the earliest studies of ORLA indicated that individuals improved not only in reading comprehension, but also in other modalities, including oral expression, auditory comprehension, and written expression.”

I am hopeful a new study called Phonomotor Therapy for Aphasia is moving the profession in the right direction. The rationale of the study is to provide an experimental speech therapy where individual sounds of the English language are trained. This summer I observed several sessions and came away very excited about its promise. Today I attend an event where the data collected from this large treatment grant will be presented. Hopefully, my aphasic mind will be able to absorb enough of what I hear to be able to share with you.

For more information about Phonomotor Therapy for Aphasia:

Carol Cline Schultz, Author

Crossing the Void: My Aphasic Journey