Treating Aphasia With Gestural Facilitation of Naming (GES)

Gestural Facilitation of Naming (GES) is a treatment for aphasia that focuses on improving word retrieval.

GES uses gestures to help someone with aphasia recall words. These gestures are specifically trained to be linked with specific words. Research has shown that action and language are very closely linked in the brain. Although someone with aphasia might have trouble with word finding, they have intact brain pathways for actions.

The goal of GES is to use those intact pathways for actions to elicit production of language. This is a trained treatment approach in which a pantomime-style gesture is trained while paired with verbal production of a word.

An added bonus of this treatment technique is that the gesture itself usually has a meaning. The gesture provides communication in the moment and also improves word retrieval in the long run.

This therapy technique is most frequently used with people Broca’s aphasia. It can be useful for any aphasia where word-finding problems exist but the person with aphasia is able to understand the gesture training.

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