Stroke patients regain ability to communicate through use of speech generating device

Every year 80,000 to 90,000 Americans lose the ability to understand or express speech, due to stroke. Known as aphasia, this condition makes effective communication all but impossible for some stroke survivors. They retain their cognition, but are often misunderstood as being mentally incapacitated. Currently 1 million Americans suffer from aphasia. Given the aging of the US population, and improved stroke survival rates, the aphasic population of the US in the year 2020 is projected to double to two million.

Traditionally aphasic patients have been entitled to a few months of speech rehabilitation during a brief period of so-called "spontaneous recovery" when the brain physiologically heals itself from injury. But research, using computers to do extended therapy, now indicates that these patients can continue to improve even many years after their stroke or brain trauma. Lingraphicare America, developers of the Lingraphica speech generating device for aphasia, has published results of studies which show significant improvements after use of the device over a period of approximately 20 weeks. Speech generating devices are specialized computers that produce audible speech from words and images.

The Lingraphica uses graphic icons to represent words that a user selects in order to hear them speak. These icons can be combined into phrases or sentences that can then be spoken by the device. Patients use the device to hear and repeat words and phrases for the purpose of practice and therapy, but they also use it to speak for them in order to make their wishes known, for instance to order food or inform a caregiver of a need.

Lingraphicare's data documents that nearly half of the subjects of its study evolved to a less severe diagnostic category of aphasia after use of the device. Over a thousand persons with aphasia were assessed using the standardized assessment instruments, the Western Aphasia Battery (WAB) that measures a patient's level o

Contact: Monica Lange
Lingraphicare America

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