Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Virtual therapist helps aphasia patients recover language

by ChiChi Madu
Feb 26, 2009

Last summer Mercy Gilpatric, an elderly North Side woman, had a stroke that wiped out her language abilities. Now, with the help of a "virtual therapist," she is regaining her language, one sentence at a time.

“It’s mind-boggling,” she said of the improvement she has made due to her training program. “The training has helped my reading so much.”

Gilpatric has a condition known as aphasia, which affects more than one million Americans, said Leora Cherney, director of the Center for Aphasia Research at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Cherney developed a computer program known as ORLA, short for Oral Reading for Language in Aphasia, to help these patients recover.

ORLA features a virtual therapist known as "Ms. Pat," an avatar who guides patients through sentence reading exercises and asks patients to point to the words as they say them

Friday, April 24, 2009

Aphasia/dysphasia: can't talk, not allowed to talk.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Aphasia caregivers

Caregivers for persons living with aphasia (PLWA) are often misinformed, confused, scared, and overwhelmed when their loved one experiences a stroke with aphasia. I've found that not many therapists or doctors give the caregivers the right kind of information--what is it? Will it get better? Who can I talk to? Does anyone else have it? and so on. Shockingly few medical personnel will give information about aphasia support groups or the National Aphasia Association website. Very few couples are given encouragement to continue therapies after the insurance runs out. No one is given hope for progress, it seems. If you have hope, you will often be told that you are in denial about your spouse's capabilities.

Frequently, I will see older couples who have been married for 40+ years, in which the husband now has aphasia and the wife is now the primary caregiver. Often, but not always, the husband was the main.........NEXT...........