What is aphasia? Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder. It can affect the ability to speak, to write, to understand spoken and written language, or to produce gestures. Aphasia can happen when there is a damage or disruptions in the parts of brain that control the language mechanisms, for example, after a stroke, a traumatic brain injury, a brain infection, or a neurodegenerative disease.

What is Primary Progressive Aphasia? Primary Progressive Aphasias are a diverse group of disorders caused by the progressive disruption of the parts of the brain thar control language. In these cases, patients will suffer a slow progressive loss of language functions. Patients usually refer difficulties finding words, telling the name of objects and people, more difficulty following conversation or progressive difficulties with reading and writing. With the progression of the neurodegenerative illness, other cognitive domains might get affected, such as memory or the ability to perform daily activities. Moreover, the presence of psychological and behavioral disorders is very common.

However, the type and progression of Primary Progressive Aphasia varies widely from person to person. Diagnosis and treatment of Primary Progressive Aphasia: In Primary Progressive Aphasia, the onset of aphasia is insidious, and sometimes It can take many years until a diagnosis. The medical diagnosis should be done by a Neurologist, who will do a neurological examination. At the same time, patients should do a detailed examination of the language and cognitive abilities with a Neuropsychologist and a Speech and Language Therapist. Although there is no known cure, research has been showing that early intervention is crucial for slowing down the disease progression and to keep language and cognitive functions longer. How can speech and language therapy help? Speech and Language therapy can help patients with Primary Progressive Aphasia to maximise their communication, according to their specific needs and challenges.

Family support and involvement in the treatment is crucial for success, and therefore an important aim is to provide counseling and communication partner training. Specific intervention strategies will be assessed for each person and adjusted to the communication impairments’ progression. If you think you or your family member have any of these symptoms, please talk to your doctor or a speech and language pathologist. Remember that early intervention can make a difference.

Drª Ana Murteira (Speech and Language Therapist, HPA Alvor)

Tel: +351 282 420 400 www.grupohpa.com