Aphasia occurs when the parts of the brain that control language are damaged, and it results in obstructed speaking, listening, reading, and/or writing. Aphasia most often results from stroke, but can be brought about from other brain injury or even brain tumors.

Aphasia Clinic and Support Services

Patients have access to the comprehensive rehabilitation services at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, including psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, along with possible eligibility to participate in research studies on aphasia offered through MedStar Health Research Institute.  In addition, an Aphasia Clinic is available at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital. Designed for those who have experienced a recent stroke or other injury to the brain with resulting language problems, the clinic is also appropriate for individuals who have previously been diagnosed with aphasia and want to improve their communication skills, even years after their illness or injury. 

Numerous support groups are available as well, including:

  • Mentorship Program:  People living with aphasia are matched with volunteer mentors who have been through the same experience.
  • Speech-Language Therapy: Therapy focuses on the real-life goals of people affected by aphasia, strengthening daily participation in life activities and social connections.
  • Computer Lab Group: Participants practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing using state-of-the-art computer programs and applications.
  • Reading Strategies: Participants practice decoding words faster and improving reading comprehension.
  • Book Group: Participants share the experience of reading by using outlines, simplified text, pictures, and auditory support through e-readers or audiotapes.
  • Motor Speech Group: For individuals with apraxia of speech, a condition that affects the motor planning abilities required for speech.
  • Dysarthria Group: For individuals with dysarthria, a condition in which the face and mouth muscles are weak, move slowly, are uncoordinated, and distort speech.
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication Clinic: We closely with vendors to provide a range of augmentative and alternative communication devices.

The hallmark of the clinic's approach is its comprehensive language and medical evaluation of each participant. This unique collaborative assessment helps the clinic team pinpoint the precise areas of the brain affected by stroke or brain injury, and characterize the type of aphasia clients are experiencing. The team uses this information to both better understand the individual's problem and make recommendations for additional management options.

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