If you’ve been diagnosed with aphasia, one of your first questions is probably, “Will I get better?” The answer is that recovery from aphasia is possible!

Every person is different. Some people will have a complete recovery. Some people mostly recover, but still find it hard to think of the right word sometimes. Others will always have aphasia but can continue to improve. The good news is that people can continue getting better for years after they get aphasia.

Aphasia is typically the most severe immediately following a stroke or other brain injury. The biggest improvements usually happen in the first several months after aphasia is diagnosed. After a stroke or brain injury, your brain uses neuroplasticity to rewire itself and rebuild connections that will help language improve.

Some improvement is called “spontaneous recovery,” meaning that the brain is healing itself on its own. This type of recovery happens the most dramatically in the first few months after a stroke. After that, improvement can continue, but it won’t be as rapid. In order to maximize your recovery and the neuroplasticity of your brain, speech therapy can help. With continued therapy, many people can continue to see improvements for years following a stroke.

The Role of SLPs, Therapy, and AAC Devices in Aphasia Recovery

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can provide therapy to help you recover. They can also provide strategies that make living with aphasia easier. Some of the things that they can help with include:

  • Training family and other communication partners on the best ways to make talking easier
  • Using other modes of communication, like gestures, pictures and drawings
  • Explaining how to tell other people that you have aphasia, and what that means
  • Making things in your life easier to understand, like the news, menus, bus schedules, and more
  • Connecting you with an aphasia support group

If you have aphasia that is significantly impacting your ability to communicate, you might be a good candidate for an assistive communication device. These devices go by several names such as a speech-generating device, an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device, or simply a communication device.

These devices provide people with aphasia a simple and effective way to communicate. The simple picture-based icons speak words and phrases aloud, even if the device users can’t.

They also provide therapeutic exercises that help cue speech, mouth position videos for practice, and reading comprehension activities. That means that a device like this will help you to both communicate more effectively and regain your language skills.

Setting Expectations When It Comes to Aphasia Recovery

Aphasia can be short-lived, or it can last for months, years, or indefinitely. Even if your aphasia is lifelong, therapists can help you to create strategies to continue participating in your community and the activities that are important to you. Although aphasia might always be a part of your life, it does not have to control your life.

Learn More About Speech-Generating Devices