The Challenge of Finding a Good Aphasia Therapist

Finding the right speech therapist

The age-old question: How do I find a good aphasia therapist?

The answer is that it can be quite challenging. In your rehabilitation setting, you typically don’t have a choice of therapists – you get who you get. As your first time experiencing therapy after a stroke or brain injury, you don’t have other therapy experiences to compare it to. Sometimes families have a good experience, sometimes they don’t.

But after rehab, you may have more options.

Hospital or rehab systems tend to keep families in their system – inpatient rehab to outpatient rehab to discharge. It’s in the outpatient or discharge transition that families can potentially find other treatment options, but there are often challenges to this.

One of the biggest issues is often geographic area. Some areas have very few speech-language pathologists who work with adults. The options may be to spend hours driving to therapy or to see a pediatric therapist nearby. We created the Online Intensive Program to help these families have access to experts and work from home.

The second most frequent complaint we hear is about the quality of available speech therapists for aphasia. Therapists who work with adults tend to work for hospital or rehab systems, so they have to treat a wide range of patients. Their experience may be a ‘mile wide but an inch deep’ because of this.

Rehab speech therapists can be amazing and do their best for you, but they may not have a lot of experience with aphasia. Many of our referrals come from these rehab programs because your therapist wants you to get the best aphasia therapy

Just like with any service provider, some speech therapists will fit your needs, and some will not. You will find what you’re looking for, but it may take some work. Research therapists on sites such as the National Aphasia Association, explore Google search results for your area AND nationally, and ask others for their recommendations. Decide what’s most important to you beforehand–cost, location, experience and results, availability, etc.

Sometimes the best answer is a combination of your outpatient therapist and/or The Aphasia Center. Sometimes it’s a local student program that’s free. Sometimes it’s piecing together different providers until you get into intensive aphasia therapy and then we figure out your next steps for you.

Don’t give up! Don’t be afraid to advocate for your family.

You will find exactly what works best for you!

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About Dr. Bartels

Dr. Bartels is a published aphasia researcher, presenter, author, and founder of The Aphasia Center Intensive Aphasia Program. She is an aphasia diagnostic and treatment expert with over 11 years of daily experience. She helps families with aphasia all over the world plan their recovery and exceed their goals.

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