Frequently Asked Questions

How do I attend Aphasia Center of California programs?

The first step is to contact the Aphasia Center of California. You can email or call us at (510) 336-0112. Our speech therapist will call you to gather information including relevant medical history and the current severity and type of aphasia. We will discuss which of our services are of most interest to the person with aphasia. A trial visit to the recommended group will then be set up, at no cost to you.

I have a family member with aphasia who lives outside of the Bay Area. Can we access services if we’re somewhere else in California?

Yes!  Our programs are currently running online via Zoom to provide long-term treatment and support for all those affected by aphasia. We recommend that individuals who attend our programs attend them for at least a 4 month time period to experience the benefit of attending the aphasia communication groups.

How long can I continue to make progress following my stroke?

Our research indicates that a person with aphasia can continue to progress significantly for many years following a stroke. This does not mean that people are “cured” of their aphasia, since aphasia is a chronic condition for many individuals. However, people with aphasia can continue to recover additional linguistic and communication skills over time, especially when they receive treatment that has demonstrated efficacy. They can also resume many activities of choice in their communities especially when a life participation approach to treatment is followed. Unfortunately, many medical professionals tell individuals with aphasia that progress will stop six months or a year following their stroke. This is not true, nor is it supported by current research.

How does one know if they have aphasia? How do I find a speech-language pathologist in my community who is experienced in working with individuals with aphasia?

A diagnosis of aphasia is made by a speech-language pathologist. Some speech-language pathologists specialize in neurogenic or neurologic communication disorders. Be sure to question a prospective therapist about their expertise and past experience in working with individuals who have aphasia. Experienced and knowledgeable therapists, especially those who attend continuing education courses on aphasia, are the most qualified to work with those who have aphasia.

Is there an Aphasia Center with the same programs in my community?

The Aphasia Center of California is unique in using the innovative programs developed by our center’s staff and described in our publications. However, different programs for those affected by aphasia may be available in your own community. Contact the National Aphasia Association’s website to find out about community groups available to you or your family member.

Do you have any materials that I can use to treat aphasia?

The Aphasia Center of California does not produce specific treatment materials for improving verbal expression skills. Information about our treatment philosophy and techniques is available by locating our publications from your local university librarian. You can also learn more about our programs by reading the newsletters posted on this website.

The most effective approach for conducting home aphasia treatment with a family member is to work with a speech-language pathologist in order to create a home treatment program. In this way, each person’s strengths and weaknesses can be considered as the program is developed. Additional information about aphasia treatment resources, including information about computer-based treatment, can be found at the National Aphasia Association’s website.

The Aphasia Center of California’s Book Connection™ manual and curriculum materials for starting aphasia book clubs are available for purchase from our website.

I am a speech-language pathologist who is interested in starting an Aphasia Center including group treatment programs. Can you help?

Our staff can be hired as paid consultants to facilitate the development of other Aphasia Centers. In addition, the staff at the Aphasia Center of California has made it a priority to publish specific information about our programs so that others can replicate our work.

You may also want to purchase the book edited by Dr. Roberta J. Elman, “Group Treatment of Neurogenic Communication Disorders: The Expert Clinician’s Approach.” This book provides information about the day-to-day workings and clinical techniques of the Aphasia Center of California in addition to other aphasia centers and programs. The second edition of this book is published by Plural Publishing (San Diego, CA).

My family member was recently diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia. Do you have information on this disorder?

Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) differs from aphasia following stroke. Unlike stroke survivors who often continue recovery for years following stroke, those with PPA gradually worsen over time as other areas of the brain become affected. The National Aphasia Association’s website contains additional information about Primary Progressive Aphasia.

I am doing a paper/project about aphasia at my university. Can you send me information about aphasia or aphasia treatment?

The best way to proceed with a college project is to do a literature search at your university library for books and journal articles related to your topic. There are thousands of articles that have been published on different aspects of aphasia, so be sure to narrow down your search! University reference librarians can be invaluable in helping you to locate references, books, and hard-to-find journals, through interlibrary loan programs. If you are doing a project on group treatment of aphasia, you will find our publications to be quite helpful.

Can you make recommendations about my child who has a diagnosis of aphasia?

The Aphasia Center of California specializes in adult onset aphasia resulting from brain injury, especially stroke. The diagnosis of childhood aphasia may be made even though there is no known neurological damage. Parents of children should request speech-language treatment through their child’s local school. In addition, universities that have speech and hearing clinics in a communicative disorders department may help in the assessment and treatment of childhood aphasia.