Life Participation Approach to Aphasia (LPAA)
The Life Participation Approach to Aphasia (LPAA) is not one specific treatment technique. Rather, it is a mindset or general approach to aphasia therapy.
According to LPAA, the primary goal of therapy is enhanced life participation. Life participation can mean different things to different people. It is based on what is important to each person. For some, it’s getting back to work. For others, it’s being involved with family or their community. For many, it’s being involved in a hobby or activity that they enjoy doing.
LPAA prioritizes the person with aphasia and their life goals. It is a collaborative model where the person with aphasia, their family, and the speech-language pathologist (SLP) are a team. They identify life participation goals and work together to reach them. With LPAA as a therapeutic mindset, the SLP can address how communication impacts life participation. The SLP can design therapy activities that will help the person with aphasia to engage in activities that are important to them. The primary goal of LPAA is increased life participation and improved quality of life.
LPAA Goes Beyond the Person With Aphasia
The LPAA model also says that the person with aphasia is not the only target of treatment. Anyone who is affected by aphasia (such as family members) are also eligible to receive treatment. In addition, the person’s environment is considered. The SLP might think of ways to change the environment to make participation easier for the person with aphasia. That might mean making an “aphasia-friendly” version of the menu at a favorite restaurant.
The Link Between LPAA and AAC
The principles of LPAA are especially important for people using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. Some people think AAC devices are just for requesting items or communicating medical information. However, an AAC device is an excellent tool to allow people to participate in activities that are important to them.
For instance, someone’s goal might be to resume attending their weekly card game. The person with aphasia, a family member, and the SLP can work together to think about what they will want to communicate about at the card game. The device can be pre-programmed with phrases, questions and stories to share.