Language therapy may help a person recover from aphasia. Some people may have a partial recovery, while others may recover fully. The time it takes to recover from aphasia can vary for each person.

Aphasia is a language disorder that can occur due to damage to the brain. Treatment may focus on recovering language abilities and developing new ways of communicating.

Read on to find out more about aphasia recovery and treatment. This article also discusses ways a person can help a loved one with aphasia.

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It is possible to make a full recovery from aphasia. In some cases, a person may make a partial recovery.

Recovery from aphasia can depend on numerous factors. These include:

  • the cause of the brain damage
  • the extent of the brain damage
  • what treatments are available
  • what support is available
  • the age and health of the individual

Doctors can assess the extent of the damage and treat the underlying cause where necessary. They will be able to create a suitable treatment plan tailored to the needs of the individual and advise on what their recovery process might look like.

Learn more about aphasia.

Recovery from aphasia can look different for each person. This means that the treatment plan may also differ.

The main treatment for aphasia is speech and language therapy. This can involve:

  • helping a person use their remaining language abilities
  • helping restore language abilities where possible
  • teaching new ways of communicating

New communication methods can include:

  • using pictures or other visual aids
  • using hand gestures
  • using electronic devices, such as a smartphone or tablet
  • writing
  • drawing

Therapy may take place on a one-on-one basis with a therapist or in a small group.

Learn more about speech therapy.

The duration of recovery can differ for each person. It can also depend on the cause of aphasia.

For example, if aphasia occurs following a transient ischemic attack, language abilities might return within hours or days.

In other cases, a person may experience improvements in their language abilities within a few months.

Language abilities may continue to improve for many years.

If a loved one experiences aphasia, there are steps a person can take to help to support them during their recovery.

These include:

  • taking part in therapy sessions where possible
  • communicating with short sentences
  • including the person with aphasia in conversations
  • encouraging any type of communication
  • allowing the person time to talk or communicate their thoughts
  • asking the person with aphasia for their opinion on relevant matters
  • minimizing distractions where possible, such as turning off a TV or radio
  • helping the person find aphasia support groups

Aphasia occurs when something causes damage to one or more areas of the brain that are responsible for language.

The most common cause of aphasia is a stroke. Other causes include:

The main symptom of aphasia is difficulty communicating through language. Specific symptoms may depend on the type of aphasia.

Types of aphasia include:

  • Broca’s aphasia: This is a type of nonfluent aphasia where a person may only be able to say single words or short sentences. Vocabulary may be limited, and the formation of sounds may be clumsy. Learn more about Broca’s aphasia and other types of expressive aphasia.
  • Wernicke’s aphasia: This is a type of fluent aphasia. The person may be able to use long sentences, but the sentences may not make sense to other people. Reading and writing might be impaired. Learn more about Wernicke’s aphasia.
  • Anomic aphasia: A person with anomic aphasia may be unable to supply the words they need, particularly with nouns and verbs, when speaking or writing.
  • Primary progressive aphasia: This type is less common. It refers to aphasia that gradually worsens over time, affecting the ability to speak, read, write, and understand other people.

Learn more about speech disorders.

A doctor will typically diagnose aphasia by carrying out various tests. They may first need to perform imaging tests such as a CT scan or MRI to assess the brain damage.

Speech and language exercises can then assist with diagnosing aphasia. These can include asking the person to:

  • name objects in the room
  • repeat words and sentences
  • write and read

These tests help assess a person’s ability to understand basic speech. They can show how well someone is able to express words and sentences and communicate during conversation.

It is possible to recover from aphasia. Some people may fully recover, while other people may experience partial recovery.

The time it takes to recover can vary, depending on factors such as the cause and extent of the brain damage. Recovery can take anywhere from a few hours or days to months or years. Some people continue to improve gradually over time.

Speech and language therapy is the main treatment for aphasia. This process involves helping a person use their remaining language ability and regain their lost language ability. The therapy can also help them find new ways to communicate during the recovery process.