Treating Aphasia Using PACE
Promoting Aphasics’ Communication Effectiveness (PACE) therapy is a multimodal treatment approach. Multimodal treatments encourage the use of any type of communication to get a message across. This can include speaking, writing, drawing, gesturing and using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. If playing charades or Pictionary sounds like a fun therapy, then PACE might be a good treatment choice!
The goal of PACE therapy is to improve conversation and general communication. In PACE therapy, the person with aphasia and speech-language pathologist (SLP) take turns being the speaker or listener. The speaker has a picture or message on a card that they need to communicate to the listener, but they cannot show the listener what they have.
They can use any mode of communication that they choose in order to convey the message. If needed, the SLP can provide feedback and prompting to convey the message.
Once the message has been received, both partners can discuss what worked best. The SLP might also set an amount of time to end the attempt if the message is not received. The SLP and person with aphasia can then work together to figure out how else the message could have been communicated.
Because PACE therapy can be adapted to different skill levels, it is appropriate for people with many types and severities of aphasia. One benefit of PACE therapy is that it positions the person with aphasia and the SLP as equals. They each take the same number of turns as the speaker and the listener. This encourages a positive communication environment. It also removes some of the burden of therapy from the person with aphasia. The therapy also has the feel of a game. Many people find it fun and an opportunity for increased social interaction and natural conversation.