Aphasia is a language disorder where a person is no longer able to use or understand words. This does not mean they are un-intelligent, but rather they have trouble speaking and knowing which words to use in order to communicate. Generally people with aphasia may have a hard time reading and understanding written words, writing words and sentences, and understanding conversation. Sometimes it will show up as difficulty using numbers or doing equations.
Brain damage due to a brain tumour, stroke, dementia or a brain infection can cause aphasia. Occasionally aphasia is a symptom of other neurological issues or epilepsy. More rarely, aphasia is seen in some people born with learning disabilities.
If it is caused by a brain tumour, removal of the tumour may decrease the amount of aphasia the patient has. For stroke patients, learning ways to communicate other than speech can be useful as can speech and language therapy sessions. Non-verbal compensations, and allowing the brain time to adapt are also useful. For instance, using objects to indicate things or drawing words or pictures. Aphasia apps for smartphones can be a good self-tool for adapting to aphasia and improving upon the areas which it affects.
There are several aphasia apps which can be useful in adjusting to and coping with aphasia. Talk Around It is an app for iOS, iPad, and Android phones which shows the user 100 pictures with 800 cues as well as testing and report functions to show progress. Older versions are available for Windows and OS X. It is available in four versions; Personal practices naming techniques for the most common words and objects, Nature uses words and pictures from outdoors and animals, Men shows commonly 'masculine' objects such as tools, and Home contains household items such as objects and functions.
Aphasia apps such as Lingraphica Small Talk and SpeakinMotion concentrate on audio speech language training. They offer music with subtitles for sing alongs as well as videos with people speaking slowly for practice with speech.
Tactus Therapy Solutions provide a suite of apps which can be bought separately or in a bundle of four. These apps focus on reading, writing, comprehension and naming.
Although these apps come at a price, free versions as available alongside the paid versions as a way of making sure that the app will be of use to the person purchasing it for their Android or iPhone, iPad or tablet device.
Although aphasia can be a very scary thing to have, there are now more ways than ever to adapt to it and be able to communicate with people. People with aphasia no longer need to feel disconnected from life. Technology has assisted many stroke or dementia patients to live better by giving them tools with which they can practice every day and feel their confidence grow as their abilities progress.