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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Individualized Recovery Pathway

Individualized Recovery Pathway
“This is a ground-breaking tool in the arsenal of the Interval Intensive Aphasia Treatment Program”
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Self-Help Aphasia Group Meetings:
12/30/08,  Pittsburgh PA
1/14/09, Conway PA
Groups are being planned for OH, MD, WV and VA.  For information contact or call 724.494.2534
3/09, the Rhode Island Speech-Language-Hearing Association Spring Conference
5/09, the New Jersey Speech Langauge Hearing Convention
Body Content
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Announcing the Individualized Recovery Pathway
The staff of and PATREC have been hard at work revolutionizing aphasia therapy.  In our last newsletter, we presented information about how the use of interval intensive aphasia therapy overcomes the shortcomings and cost-prohibitive nature of traditional short term (4-6 weeks) intensive therapy. 

In this newsletter, we will discuss another key development -  the Individualized Recovery Pathway.  Typically, aphasia therapy begins with a fixed plan of treatment (POT) that has been derived from results of a diagnostic evaluation. 

While establishing a POT provides an important and necessary step in the treatment process, we have found the need to create a document:
  1. that is more reflective of the brisk change that occurs in our patients and subscribers
  2. that is flexible enough to quickly grow with the ongoing progress in patient skills
  3. that is sensitive enough to show and take advantage of opportunities presented by this progress
  4. that better reflects the sophistication and complexities of complex human communication
  5. that smoothly integrates all components of communication including speaking, reading, writing, spelling, etc. into ongoing practice
  6. that helps to facilitate carry over of improved skills into the patient’s everyday world

The Individualized Recovery Pathway begins with a shared understanding of where the patient is at the start of therapy.  Next, through a true collaboration of the patient, caregivers and the speech pathologist, it is determined where the patient where the patient wants to be in his/her life (long-term goals).  The outcomes of this group effort to determine what the patient wants to accomplish in the long run drives the next step of creating an action plan.  From this information, the group forms the action plan of short term goals and objectives which includes specifics of practice activities, innovative tools, schedule of treatment and independent practice, etc.  This section is the ‘meat and potatoes’ of the treatment.  You will notice am emphasis on independent patient practice as the best therapy happens when the patient is involved in self-directed practice.  Here, the essentials of Simply Smart aphasia therapy that we have discussed in past newsletters and on our website come into play.  Each part of the short term goal list has a hyperlink (such as the Contact page in the sample below) to a page that contains specifics and that is responsive to patient progress and change by expanding and growing.  

To find our more about how this approach to planning treatment, validating improvement and quickly taking advantage of patient progress and caregiver training can help you, contact Bill Connors at 724.494.2534 or email at

Individualized Recovery Pathway

Name: ­­­_____Mary  Smith_____________________________________                                                                        
State/Province:    ____PA___________                                Date _12/18/08_____

Where do you want to go? Long terms goals and outcomes

Return to productive involvement in society – private practice in consulting
Teach again at the community college level

How do we get there? Short term goals and action plan
           Contract – see attached [hyperlink]

            Talk and converse better

            Talk in sentences [new normal]

            Use the computer again

            Use the internet and email

            Understand the speech of others well

            Spell and type [ keyboard ] well

            Improved control and use of RIGHT hand

Where do we start?  Where are you now?

See attached report from hospital – overall moderate-marked aphasia deficits

Action List Hyperlink

Name: ­­­_____Mary Smith____________________________________                                                                        
State/Province:    ____PA____________                                Date _12/18/08_____

1.     Alternate weeks:
a.      On-site face to face intensive treatment – 2.5 hours; 1-40 minute session over the internet with SLP
 b.     3-40 minute sessions over the internet with SLP

2.     Conversational practice:
 a.      1 session per month with another patient over the internet
 b.     Participation in a self-help group once per month
 c.     2 sessions per month with graduate student 
 d.     Daily with parents and caregiver
3.     4 hours per day of independent self-help practice using; the Aphasia Sight Reader; treatment protocols and materials; email; reading-writing-speaking with a focus on incorporating our loud self talk and lots of repetitions

_____________________     _____________________

Mary Smith                                         William Connors, SLP
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