The Rhythm & Reason Blog is not an authoritative source for this topic. The R&R Blog aims to provide short, simple information for very complex conditions. Please conduct additional research and visit your doctor for more information.

Aphasia is a communication disorder characterized by difficulties with expressive fluency and/or receptive comprehension. Individuals with aphasia may now struggle with speech comprehension, spoken language, word retrieval, reading, or writing, as well as possible issues with articulation, oral motor control, and swallowing. However, intelligence and personality may not be affected if neurological damage is limited. Aphasia often results from stroke, but can also be caused by head trauma, tumor, infection, or progressive neurological conditions. The person’s location and amount of damage to the brain will produce symptoms and severity unique to that individual. Visit MayoClinic.org to learn more about learning to live, or supporting loved ones, with aphasia.

Some medications may help with certain symptoms. Treatments are best which begin as early as possible after injury. Clinical and research-based music therapy is a complementary treatment available to help individuals and groups rehabilitate speech and language skills or develop new augmentative or adaptive communication strategies. Careful control of the elements of live music and musical engagement through a therapeutic relationship  can accomplish tremendous outcomes. Music can activate most parts of the brain and help form new neural connections. Rhythmic entrainment can enhance motor initiation and control. Familiar melodies can help people sing even when they cannot speak. Vocal intonation can exercise speech prosody. Singing can augment traditional oral motor exercises. Preferred music can elevate mood, increase quality of life, and improve the overall treatment process, which can otherwise become repetitive and frustrating. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit mtstpete.org.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (n.d.). Aphasia. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/aphasia/basics/definition/con-20027061

Mosheim, J. (2010, November 8). Music Therapy for Aphasia. Retrieved from http://speech-language-pathology-audiology.advanceweb.com/Features/Articles/Music-Therapy-for-Aphasia.aspx

National Aphasia Association. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.aphasia.org/aphasia-definitions/

Wikipedia contributors. (n.d.). Aphasia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphasia

Wikipedia contributors. (n.d.). Music Therapy for Non-Fluent Aphasia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_therapy_for_non-fluent_aphasia