10:51pm Tuesday 22 August 2017

World-class aphasia program gives stroke survivors a lift

Facilitated by speech pathologists and speech pathology students from UQ’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, LIFT (Language Impairment and Functioning Therapy) is one of only 12 intensive comprehensive aphasia programs in the world.

Aphasia is a language disorder that can affect a person’s ability to talk, read, write and understand the spoken word, which can occur after stroke, traumatic brain injury, or brain cancer.

Professor Linda Worrall from UQ’s Clinical Centre for Research Excellence (CCRE) in Aphasia Rehabilitation said the three-week intensive program included daily individual therapy, computer training and group sessions.

“Studies have shown that higher-intensity rehabilitation can improve recovery from brain injury,” Professor Worrall said.

“It’s hard work, but participants enjoy the intensity and have achieved significant improvement in their ability to retrieve words, which is the major challenge with aphasia.

“Many have been able to achieve specific communication goals such as reading a book to their child at bedtime.”

Professor Worrall said results of the LIFT program would be used by researchers to investigate the effectiveness of high-intensive therapy compared to the same amount of therapy but delivered over a longer period of time.

Several participants have repeated the LIFT program, including 41-year-old Bruce Aisthorpe who suffered a stroke in 2011.

“I really enjoyed the chance to work in groups plus the ability to work one-to-one with a therapist,” Mr Aisthorpe said.

“Most of all I liked the intensity of the program; working four to five hours a day every day really helped me to improve from just words to sentences.

“I’m coming back to do another LIFT as I still need to improve and there doesn’t seem to be any other kind of intensive therapy program out there that really makes a difference.”

Registrations are now being taken for the June and November 2013 LIFT program.

For further information, contact Eril McKinnon on 3365 7595 or e.mckinnon@uq.edu.au

Media: Kirsten Rogan, Communications and Media, University of Queensland Faculty of Health Sciences, 07 3346 4713, 0412307594 or k.rogan@uq.edu.au.


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