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The Source® for Aphasia Therapy
Ages: Adults   Grades: Adults

This book has something to help every client with aphasia.  Forty-one activities are presented, each with a goal, instructions, and compensatory strategies to help you individualize your treatment.



  • Improve receptive language in tasks ranging from imitating gestures to understanding complex paragraphs
  • Progress in expressive language tasks ranging from automatic utterances to conversational speech
  • Improve reading comprehension in a continuum from letter matching to paragraph comprehension
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Detailed instructions for every task are helpful to beginning clinicians.  Use the compensatory strategies to adjust the task difficulty to your clients' abilities—they'll experience immediate success and build motivation!  The functional activities are arranged in a hiearchy of difficulty within three sections: Receptive Language, Reading Comprehension, and Expressive Language.

  • the Receptive Language section begins with imitating common gestures and following commands, and continues with object and picture identification, yes/no questions, and understanding complex paragraphs
  • the Reading Comprehension section begins with letter and word matching (with and without pictures) and progresses to sentence, questions, and paragraph comprehension
  • the Expressive Language section starts with automatic speech (e.g., rote speech such as counting words to familiar songs), continues with picture and object naming, and naming from description, then continues through several more tasks to build sentence formulation and conversational skills


Copyright © 1999

183 pages, goals, therapy activities
  • There is evidence that individuals with aphasia who receive speech and language treatment have significantly better outcomes than those individuals with aphasia who do not receive treatment (Hickin, Best, Herbert, Howard, & Osborn, 2003).
  • Evidence exists for the effectiveness of several forms of cognitive rehabilitation for people with stroke (remediation of language and perception after left and right hemisphere stroke, respectively) and traumatic brain injury (remediation of attention, memory, functional communication, and executive functioning) (Cicerone et al., 2000).
  • Research suggests that, depending on the client's needs, aphasia treatment should target single word auditory processing, spoken word production, single word reading, single word writing, sentence processing, gesture, and using a communication book.  Intervention should strive to minimize communication impairment, address emotional health, and facilitate participation in the individual's social context and community (Taylor-Goh, 2005).
  • The training of general and specific personal compensatory strategies is an important functional approach to cognitive-communication intervention (Hartley, 1995).
  • Individuals with aphasia can often overcome word retrieval difficulties if the listener supplies them with a simple cue.  Cueing hierarchies may be useful for individuals with a variety of naming impairments (Raymer, 2005).

The Source for Aphasia Therapy incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Cicerone, K., Dahlberg, C., Kalmar, K., Langenbahn, D., Malec, J., Bergquist, T., et al. (2000). Evidence-based cognitive rehabilitation: Recommendations for clinical practice. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 81(12), 1596-1615.

Hartley, L.L. (1995). Cognitive-Communicative abilities following brain injury: A functional approach. San Diego: Singular Publishing Group, Inc.

Hickin, J., Best, W., Herbert, R., Howard, D., & Osborn, F. (2003). Therapy for word finding difficulties in aphasia: Measuring the impact on real-life communication. Proceedings of the Fifth European Congress of CPLOL.

Raymer, A.M. (2005). Naming and word-retrieval problems. In L.L. LaPointe (Ed.), Aphasia and related neurogenic language disorders (3rd ed.). New York: Thieme.

Taylor-Goh, S. (2005). Royal college of speech and language therapists: Clinical guidelines. United Kindgom: Speechmark.


Lisa A. Arnold


Lisa A. Arnold, M.Ed., CCC/SLP, received her undergraduate and graduate training at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.  She has worked in a variety of settings including a community speech and hearing center, acute and rehabilitation hospitals, public school systems, private practice, and home health care agencies.  She currently works as a speech-language pathologist in Henry County Public Schools in McDonough, Georgia.  Lisa has over ten years experience in long-term care settings.

The Source for Aphasia Therapy is Lisa's fifth publication with LinguiSystems.  She is also the author of The Long Term Care Companion, The Source for Neuro Rehab, The Card Source for Neuro Rehab (discontinued), and Co-Treat with Confidence Adults.


Aphasia is a language impairment caused by a neurological insult.  The insult usually results from either a cerebrovascular accident (a stroke) or from a traumatic brain injury.  We think of aphasia as an acquired impairment caused by neurological damage, rather than a congenital disorder.

Aphasia is often extremely frustrating for the client and his family/caregivers.  The client suffers because he has a decreased functional system of communication.  And because of this language breakdown, many family members feel their loved ones are now becoming mentally ill or senile.  This could not be further from the truth.  From my years of experience dealing with clients suffering from psychosis and dementia, I've learned that aphasia often does not mimic these other neurological impairments.  Aphasia resulting from stroke in the absence of any previous neurological difficulties such as dementia, is usually free of any memory or cognitive impairment. Simply stated, aphasia is a language disorder.

As a language disorder, aphasia can affect different aspects of language.  For example, a client might experience a receptive aphasia which impacts comprehension of spoken and written language, while an expressive aphasia affects a client's ability to produce spoken and written language.  The Source for Aphasia Therapy covers receptive language skills, reading comprehension skills, and expressive language skills.  The receptive and expressive sections deal heavily with spoken language, while the reading comprehension section, naturally, contains activities designed to increase reading single letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs.

I've written this book as a therapy guide with the most important remediation activities for easing receptive and expressive aphasia.  As clinicians, we must often prioritize our treatment programs for aphasic clients.  In other words, we need to identify and remediate the most important and functional areas first, then move to higher level treatments such as writing.  I believe that a client who undergoes the kind of aphasia therapy offered in this book is not "relearning" language.  Rather he is reminding the brain of language that is still there in the neurological center.  The language just needs nudging and cueing to resurface.

The Source for Aphasia Therapy is packed with functional tasks and simple compensatory techniques.  The activities are easy and inexpensive enough to teach them to the client's family members, caregivers, and even friends.  These strategies are vital for successful aphasia therapy and are meant to be used until independence is reached, or until the client/caregivers are effectively using functional strategies and cueing mechanisms.

Throughout the the book, the pronouns he and him are used to refer to the client merely for the sake of the book's consistency.  Of course the book is for female as well as male clients.

A final note, as speech-language pathologists, we play a crucial role in educating family members and caregivers about aphasia.  We are advocates for the client because we are often the professionals who best understand his plight and frustration.  Treat aphasic clients with dignity and respect.  Educate family members and caregivers about aphasia.  I urge you to use your role wisely.