Empowering Aphasia Recovery: Insights from an Expert (Part 2 of 2)

Author: Jonathan Marsh

Have you or someone you know ever experienced the mysterious loss of words and struggled to communicate your thoughts effectively?

Stephanie Lomazov, an esteemed Speech Language Pathologist, returns for the second part of our insightful Aphasia series, "Breaking Barriers: A Dialogue with an Aphasia Expert." Stephanie is the founder of Neuro Speech Therapy in Sarasota, Florida, and is on the board of directors with the Aphasia Community Center.

In this episode during Aphasia Awareness Month, Stephanie answers the following questions:

What are the common myths surrounding Aphasia, and what is the truth behind them?

How can we effectively communicate with individuals living with Aphasia? Discover helpful tips and tricks that benefit both the person with Aphasia and those interacting with them.

Who are the professionals and resources available to provide support for individuals with Aphasia on their journey to recovery?

Stephanie's expertise and compassionate approach will captivate you as she addresses these crucial aspects. Prepare to gain valuable insights and practical advice that can make a real difference in the lives of those affected by Aphasia.

Let's continue spreading awareness and understanding together! ❤️

#EmpoweringAphasiaRecovery #AphasiaAwareness #NeuroSpeechTherapy #HomeHelpersWaterCoolerChat

To reach out to Stephanie Lomazov or to learn more Neuro Speech Therapy, there are a number of ways to get in touch:

Contact Stephanie Lomazov, M.S., CCC-SLP

Direct: (941) 259-4827

email: stephanie@neurospeechtherapy.com

Website: neurospeechtherapy.com

Main Phone: (941) 263-8240

Address: 5969 Cattleridge Blvd STE 100, Sarasota, FL 34232


[Jonathan] In recognition of National Aphasia Awareness Month, we welcome back Stephanie Lomazov for part two of our Home Helpers Water Cooler Chat about aphasia. Stephanie's a bilingual both Russian and English medical speech-language pathologist with clinical specialty and training in speech, language, cognition, and swallowing disorders. She is also the founder and owner of Neuro Speech Therapy in Sarasota, Florida. She’s also on the board of directors with the Aphasia Community Center. Are you ready to learn even more about aphasia? Let's go.

Thank you, Stephanie, for joining us again for another edition of Home Helpers Water Cooler Chat. How are you doing today?

[Stephanie] I'm great. Thank you for having me back.

[Jonathan] Sounds great. So, listen, this is part two of our aphasia series, right? So what I want you to first do is kind of recap what aphasia is. You know, what we learned about aphasia in the last session?

[Stephanie] Absolutely. Yeah. So aphasia is one of those conditions that not many people know about or hear about, but it's quite common. So aphasia is a communication disorder and it's an acquired communication disorder. So it's something that comes about later in life after an event such as a stroke or a brain injury, and it affects communication specifically. So I always explain it as it's a language disorder, not a disorder of intelligence or impact on intelligence whatsoever. It's only focusing on the impact that it has on a person's ability to communicate, speak, write, read, and understand everything that really impacts language. That's what aphasia is.

[Jonathan] Well, that's a good segue into my first question for you. So tell us about some of the common myths about those that have aphasia.

[Stephanie] Yeah, there are many myths that kind of circulate when it comes to talking about this disorder. The first one that I kind of touched on with the definition of aphasia really is that does it affect intelligence? And that's a very common myth that, you know, a person has aphasia. It affects their intelligence, it affects their ability to make decisions for themselves, whether it be for health decisions, medical, or financial decisions. Right. That's a big question that many people have.

And the diagnosis of aphasia itself doesn't affect intelligence. So it's not like Alzheimer's disease, where it affects memory and cognition and everything else combined. It's actually only affecting the ability to access ideas, thoughts through language. And that's the only thing that's disrupted, not the ideas or thoughts themselves, which they still have in their head. So it's a very common one. Yeah. Another very common myth is that it's a rare disorder. It's not rare at all. About 2.5 million people are living with aphasia in the US alone, and it's a vicious cycle of people thinking it's rare because those that have aphasia can't communicate about the fact that they have aphasia. And so that reduces the awareness piece to it, which makes it seem so rare, which in reality it's quite common. So that's a very common myth. Another one that's also pretty common is that aphasia can't improve, which it can. You know, it varies on the person. There is a big range that you can see of how fast or slow it would improve, but it is not a stand-still condition. One thing that I use in my practice all the time is something called the principles of neuroplasticity, which is the brain's ability to change. Research and science have proven that that can happen. So aphasia is something that you can live with, but also it can improve over time.

[Jonathan] So Stephanie, tell me, what are the best ways to communicate with a person that has aphasia and maybe some helpful tips or tricks for that person as well as the person who's trying to communicate with them?

[Stephanie] Yeah, that's a great question. You know, a lot of people, think they need to be all fancy and come up with all these unique ways to communicate. Really, it comes down to some really key principles that everybody can follow when it comes to dealing with somebody who has aphasia.

The first would be to give that person time. Time to speak and just time to think about what they want to say because that's really the key to allowing a person with aphasia to be able to communicate. They just need a lot more time.

Another key component is just making sure your communication is simple. Simple, but adult. Right. And so that's why I always like to tell people, you're not having to talk down or increase your volume. They can hear you usually just fine. It's more about just keeping it simple and giving that time and that space.

Another really common tip that I provide a lot of my patients and families is gestures. You'll see that I use my hands a lot to communicate, and that's something that I always recommend using everything at your disposal when you're communicating with somebody with aphasia. That's pictures, gestures, drawings, anything that you can to really bulk up that conversation because using just words is really hard for a person with aphasia sometimes. So it's helpful to have a lot more support if you can.

So those are the main tips. I can go on and on about all the different things you can do, but really it's keeping it simple, keeping it nice and calm, and giving them time and space.

[Jonathan] That makes a lot of sense. And certainly, I'll provide your information to our audience. And so if they need more tips, they can reach out to you directly.

Alright. Let me ask you. So for those that have aphasia in our audience or maybe those that have family members or friends that are affected, who can help, you know, those that have aphasia?

[Stephanie] Absolutely. Yeah. So the biggest recommendation I can give is to reach out to a speech-language pathologist. You know, a speech-language pathologist like myself, we are trained specifically to work with this condition. So they would be your first person to go to, whether that's for therapy and treatment recommendations, next steps, or like we talked about, tips and advice on what you can do. That would be the best approach to, first off, just get help and support and then also treatment and therapy because it is something that can improve with a lot of hard work.

I would also recommend just making sure you have a good unit of support around you. So that's families, caregivers, and loved ones. You know, you can't underestimate how helpful and supportive they can be. And then also reaching out to your local community. A lot of communities have support groups for people who have aphasia, and we have one locally right here in Sarasota, the Aphasia Community Center, which is designed specifically to provide people with free resources, activities, and social outings for this community that is really quite large and needs that support.

[Jonathan] Thank you so much, Stephanie, for joining us today. You've provided a wealth of information over this two-part series, so thank you once again. Can you tell us a little bit more about Neuro Speech Therapy in Sarasota?

[Stephanie] Absolutely. My pleasure. I'm so glad to, you know, provide that information to you. And yeah, Neuro Speech Therapy is a private practice here in Sarasota. I'm the owner and the lead speech pathologist, and we are a resource for people who have aphasia and also people who don't have aphasia, but really our specialty and expertise areas are working with adults who have communication disorders after a brain injury or a stroke.

We have a specialty program specifically designed to work with people with aphasia. We have a modified intensive program as well, and we are just a community resource here to provide intensive speech therapy support and resources for people in our community who have language-based conditions after a stroke or brain injury. So, we are here to help.

[Jonathan] Sounds great. I will include your information in this video, but also in the comments. So anybody in the community that needs to reach out to you, they’ll have your information.

Thank you, Stephanie, for joining us once again and for our audience out there. And until next time, stay hydrated with great conversations from Home Helpers Water Cooler Chat. Take care.


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