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This website already exists in French. It is visited by French speaking persons with aphasia from Europe, Africa, the USA and the Middle East. As the author with this disability, I believe Anglophones will benefit from my experience and find the site user friendly and practical. (Ce site est disponible en Français)

Aphasic individuals can benefit from using computers to help them with speech, reading, and motivation.writing

photo-roch[1]Aphasia develops as a result of neurological lesions caused by a stroke in the speech and communication centre of the brain. Aphasia can have a wide range of effects depending on the intensity of the stroke and the area of the brain in which it occurs. A stroke in Broca’s area affects elocution and oral production, and individuals will typically have trouble expressing themselves.  Effects include difficulties with articulation and elocution, reduced speech flow and trouble finding the right word.  Sentence structures may lack coherence and are often “telegraphic” in style.   In some cases, a stroke can result in the total loss of speech.

A stroke in Wernicke’s Area, on the other hand, will affect language comprehension.  Word and sentence production are generally unaffected, but speech is typically logorrheic and lacks meaning.

A stroke, however, rarely affects a single well-defined area of the brain such as the language center.  Other related disorders may arise including problems with memory, attention, organization, planning, motor skills, etc.  When a stroke occurs in Broca’s Area, near the motor areas of the brain, individuals will experience reduced motor skills ranging from paresthesia of the hand and of one side of the face, to total paralysis of the right side of the body.

This website covers my personal experience with Aphasia.   

In my case, aphasia affects my elocution, reading and writing.  I have lost sensitivity in the right side of my mouth, as well as strength and fine motor dexterity in my right hand.

There are many ways to react to this disability. We can isolate ourselves, withdraw from others and wait for time to pass, or we can seek out useful and necessary methods to make this disability more bearable to both ourselves and those around us.  It is helpful to mention to outsiders that one has suffered a stroke resulting in slower speech.  Most people will react sympathetically.

With several months of therapy, some aphasic individuals will reach a ‘comfort zone’ and  those close to them will succeed in understanding them somewhat accurately.  In such cases, efforts to improve may be reduced, and there is a danger of regressing.  Is further improvement possible, or is there a limit?   The first few months of therapy following a stroke are decisive for aphasic patients.  Afterwards, progress becomes more difficult.   But can we hope for more, by being consistent with exercises and using technology?

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For me, the computer is my crutch.  Indeed, computers offer many ways of helping with aphasia.  They can be useful in practising diction, while voice synthesis programs can be used to read newspapers, e-mails and even books out loud.  Word-Q is a computer program that helps me write correctly and corrects my spelling mistakes.  The following pages cover my experiences, which may be useful to others.  I am also aware that there are many other means of helping those with aphasia.

Developing this website will allow me to update various techniques as well as help me carry out various projects.

I am interested in hearing about any experiences you may have that resemble those described here.

Roch Lafrance

rl.aphasia@gmail.com

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