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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

New Satellite Offices of the Pittsburgh Aphasia Treatment, Research and Education Center

New Satellite Offices of the Pittsburgh Aphasia Treatment, Research and Education Center

Happy New Year to our subscribers in the USA
Did you know that in the US New Year's Day had been celebrated on March 25?  In 1752 the colonies and England scrapped the old calendar and adopted the present calendar.
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Self-Help Aphasia Group Meetings:
1/14/09, Conway PA

1/20/08,  Pittsburgh 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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Quote of the day:
“I needed the people around me to believe in the plasticity of my brain and its ability to grow, learn, and recover.”
            Jill Bolte Taylor
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Announcing New Satellite Offices - Ohio and Virginia
We are pleased to announce expansion of services to northern Ohio.  In order to more easily accommodate the short bursts of intensive treatment in our Interval Intensive Program, we will be seeing clients in our office near Cleveland, Ohio starting in January 2009.   Plans are under way for an office in the Northern VA area in February, 2009.  Scheduling is limited.  Call 724.494.2534 or email now for information.

  The Key to Effective Aphasia Therapy and Practice
We have found that the key element to successful and effective aphasia therapy is to make each drill or treatment activity truly therapeutic.  Many of our subscribers have expressed concern that the drills and activities that they had been using in the past were tedious and seemed to be ineffective.  Making an exercise truly therapeutic means minimizing or avoiding entirely: imitation, external cuing, and serial productions (counting, reciting days of the week, etc.), reading aloud or reciting, and matching (objects to pictures or words, etc.).    Instead, we now know that activities should utilize neural pathways that coordinate with propositional speech that is self-generated by the patient.  Jill Bolte Taylor, in her wonderful book My Stoke of Insight, explained, “If I were to ever regain these abilities, then I needed to find that circuitry within my mind, in my own time, and exercise it.”
 Below are some tactics we employ at the Pittsburgh Aphasia Treatment, Research and Education Center to maximize the therapeutic nature of aphasia practice:

  1. Make sure that the patient is working from his/her own memory, starting with a personal thought or concept and then generating words and sentences. 
  2. Practice with heads up and eye contact made, just like in conversation like in conversation.
  3. Make sure that metaphasia has been established so that patient has clear insight into what needs to be done.
  4. Work with sentences not individual words as often as possible even when working on morphological and phonological (speech sounds) elements of language.
  5. Obtain lots and lots of self-generated patient utterances and/or sentences.
  6. Make sure the patient practices our loud especially when he/she is alone.
  7. Combine angles (reading, writing, gesture, typing, pragmatics) as often as possible.  The Aphasia Sight Reader program used by subscribers to  is an excellent tool for helping to accomplish this.
  8. Have the patient create or at least be very involved in the design of his/her own materials/stimuli for practice.
  9. Simultaneously build cognitive underpinnings for conversation such as verbal working memory, sustained and alternating attention skills, self awareness, and mental resource allocation.
  10. Demonstrate and track progress by using a tool, such as the Individualized Recovery Pathway form, that is sensitive to change and growth and that facilitates ongoing adjustments in treatment.
 If you have questions about how this approach is working so successfully for our clients, contact Bill Connors at or 724.494.2534
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