Mild Aphasia - Treat Using Speech Therapy Apps at Home or in Clinic

Using Speech Therapy Apps to Treat Mild Aphasia

 10 min read


Mild aphasia simply means that the listener is impacted mildly by the problems the person with aphasia is having. For the person with mild aphasia, it can feel really severe. Imagine feeling like the word you want is on the tip of your tongue – all the time. It’s not hard to see why someone who has made a fantastic recovery in their language skills after a stroke or brain injury may still suffer a huge blow to their confidence when every conversation is a gamble as to whether it will go smoothly or not.

For those with mild aphasia, there are many treatment options available that can challenge their abilities beyond daily conversation to strengthen the underlying linguistic skills and cognitive resources. And many of these evidence-based treatments can be completed in therapy sessions or at home using Tactus Therapy apps.

In this video-enriched resource, we’ll take you through what mild aphasia is and how it impacts language, and show you all the Tactus Therapy apps that can help. And remember – you can try these apps for free by downloading the Lite version to see if you or the person with aphasia in your life can benefit.

Download this guide to using apps to treat mild aphasia

This free PDF handout contains the details about which activities & settings to use in each of the recommended apps. Perfect to print & give to families or use to help your loved one with mild aphasia.

Tactus Therapy Using Apps Mild Aphasia preview

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Defining Mild Aphasia

Mild aphasia means the person experiences difficulty communicating less than 25% of the time. It may not be obvious to everyone they speak with.

Here’s a guide for helping people with severe aphasia or global aphasia. Severe aphasia means the message is conveyed less than 50% of the time.

Not everyone with mild aphasia will have mild impairments in all four areas of language. Some have relative strengths in speaking and understanding, but perhaps reading and writing are more challenging.

Here’s what mild-moderate and mild impairments might look like in each of the four major language skills:

Talking (also known as verbal, spoken, or oral expression) includes thinking of the words you want to say and saying them.

  • Mild-Moderate: Can speak to anyone, but isn’t always able to get the message across clearly.
  • Mild: Able to communicate effectively in most everyday situations, but occasionally has word-finding problems or difficulty expressing complex ideas.

Understanding (aka spoken, listening, or auditory comprehension) is the ability to make sense of what you hear.

  • Mild-Moderate: Understands most conversations with anyone, but complicated ideas may require restating or written supports.
  • Mild: Able to follow complex directions and understand most conversations, but occasionally has difficulty with work or social activities in large groups or for complex sentences.

Writing, or written expression, is the ability to put words into written form. This can be through handwriting, printing, or typing and requires spelling skills.

  • Mild-Moderate: Can write sentences, but needs help with paragraphs, complex sentences, and challenging words.
  • Mild: Can write paragraphs, but may need to use strategies or tools to help. Difficulties may still be noticed in work-related writing or for more complex ideas.

Reading is making sense of the written word. Oral reading (aka reading aloud) is a different skill from reading comprehension, but both skills can be affected by aphasia.

  • Mild-Moderate: Reads simple sentences well, but needs help with complex sentences and paragraphs.
  • Mild: Reads most things well, but it takes longer than usual and is tiring.

There is also a level of aphasia that could be called minimal aphasia. If you are only experiencing problems when you are tired, stressed, or if your problems communicating are part of a larger cognitive-communication impairment, you may find these apps and exercises too easy. Always try the free Lite versions before purchasing if you are unsure.

Using Apps to Treat Mild Aphasia

It’s important to know that mild aphasia can improve over time. Motivation, repetition, and the right kinds of exercises are all needed to make progress on communication goals. That’s where our evidence-based speech therapy apps can help. Jump to the app you want with the links below or keep scrolling to read more.

  1. Advanced Language Therapy 4-in-1 (all 4 apps)
  2. Conversation Therapy
  3. Number Therapy

Bonus App

1) Advanced Language Therapy 4-in-1

Advanced Language Therapy helps people with moderate and mild aphasia in all four areas of language. For mild aphasia, here are some tips on how to use the app in its most challenging form.

Advanced Comprehension Therapy

This app challenges your listening comprehension, attention, and working memory to ensure you’re truly understanding what you hear. All 3 activities can be made more challenging by selecting only the hardest levels.

Identify: Set the Mode to Listen, and select Levels 5-12 to match the sentence you hear to a picture.

Build: Switch the Audio Prompt off and ensure Extra Words is set to 3. Select Levels 5-12 to assemble the words to form a sentence that matches the picture you see.

Follow: Set the Mode to Listen, and select Levels 5-16 to follow the most challenging directions.

PRO TIP: After doing your first session of each activity, take a look at the reports. Next time, focus only on the levels on which you scored less than 90% accuracy.

Advanced Comprehension Therapy

Advanced Naming Therapy

This app challenges your ability to think of specific words, organize ideas, and improve both speed and fluency of word-finding. Here’s how to max out the difficulty in each of the 4 activities for verbal expression:

Create: This activity is based on the VNeST protocol and is already quite difficult. Push yourself to think of very precise Who and What nouns to go with each verb. So instead of saying “I miss my sister,” try “the batter missed the pitch” or “the commuter missed the train” to get at the heart of what the verb means and explore various meanings. Change the verb conjugation by touching the button under the verb.

Compare: Try Level 2: Variations to work on precise descriptive vocabulary as you compare and contrast similar items, then move away from pictures to Level 3: Concrete Concepts and the super-hard Level 4: Abstract Concepts. Push yourself to organize your ideas before speaking them. Concisely define each concept, highlighting the key similarities and differences. Write your answers down in short paragraphs to mimic school essays and focus on clarity of communication.

Describe: Time for a bit of fun as you verbally describe some unusual pictures. Try the Idioms category to work on figurative language, and put words in someone else’s mouth with the Conversations and Thoughts categories.

Generate: Try to name as many words as you can in a minute (or 2 or 3), or try to name 10 or 15 words without a timer. All the categories can be challenging, but if you can master Rhymes, Synonyms, or Starts with Prefix, you’re a linguistic champion!

BONUS: Timed Fluency Tests offer a way to track your progress by taking them at the beginning and end of your therapy and comparing your results to the standardized scores in the report.

Advanced Naming Therapy

Advanced Reading Therapy

Practice reading with tests of comprehension at 3 different levels. Start with Level 2 (50-150 words at a Grade 2-3 reading level with 4 quiz questions), then adjust up to Level 3 or down to Level 1 based on how you find it. Here’s how to get more challenge out of this app:

Read Aloud: Read each passage out loud to work both your reading and speaking skills while you try to retain the information for comprehension.

Listen: If auditory comprehension is the problem, don’t look at the screen. Simply hit Play and listen to the passage. Then look at the screen again to answer the quiz questions.

Look Up Words: Change the Touch to Hear Words setting to Regular Selection to access the built-in dictionary tool when you select a word you don’t know. This feature of the tablet can be used in most apps and browsers, and will help you be more independent in understanding new words.

Carry On: If you enjoy the book chapters in Levels 2 and 3, you can keep reading these free books in the public domain online. Links are available in the User Guide.

Advanced Reading Therapy

Advanced Writing Therapy

The activities are organized from easiest on the left to hardest on the right, but there are challenging aspects to each activity. Here’s how to make each activity harder:

Match: Adjust the Difficulty to Hard. Select all Levels so you’ll get a variety of sounds to match to letters and a baseline report. Focus on the levels on which you score below 90% to strengthen your ear.

Spell: Turn off the 2-, 3-, and 4- letter words so you can work on typing longer words (e.g. important, sometimes, example), focus the category of Irregular Words (e.g. aisle, debt, height), or hone in on the Little Words categories (e.g. have, those, for) if that’s where you struggle.

Type: Select Levels 5-8 for the longest sentences to type. For example, you’ll hear, “go straight until you pass the school” and then type it out. Listen as many times as you want, slow it down, or see the text to copy it if this is too hard.

Write: Here’s the most challenging set of writing exercises! Work your way up the categories from using a noun in a sentence to composing full emails or letters. The Taking Notes category presents audio for you to listen to (like voicemails, lectures, and recipes) and jot down the key points. Try using paper and pen for this one if typing is a challenge.

Advanced Writing Therapy
Advanced Language Therapy

Advanced Language Therapy

Take aphasia therapy to the sentence level & beyond with 4 apps that strengthen listening, talking, reading, & writing.

Learn more about the evidence-based speech therapy techniques that can help with mild aphasia using this app:

2) Conversation Therapy

Conversation Therapy requires a communication partner, but as most people with mild aphasia are looking to improve their conversational skills, it’s perfect! Here are some tips for using this app with mild aphasia:

Don’t Skip Around

While we normally recommend focusing only on the topics that interest you by skipping through the app until you find a picture or topic you like, this time we’re advising the opposite. Forcing yourself to talk about less-familiar or less-preferred topics encourages the use of more varied vocabulary. It may also lead you to look up information on new topics and learn something new from your conversation partner.

Focus on the Right

The questions on the right side of the screen (Infer, Predict, Narrate, Evaluate, Brainstorm) are harder to answer than the ones on the left, so they may be more appropriate for mild aphasia. The exception to this is the Define question (2nd on the left) that can be really challenging for some topics.

Try Written Responses

If you don’t have a partner to chat with, or you want to improve your writing skills, try writing down or typing out your answers to each question.

Practice Strategies When You Get Stuck

People with mild aphasia can often name pictures, but they struggle to think of more abstract words. When this happens during conversation using this app, try a word-finding strategy like circumlocution (describe the concept), first-letter scanning (does it start with A, B, C….), or using a synonym (a word with a similar meaning).

Conversation Therapy

Conversation Therapy

Engage in real-life discussions with pictures & questions that get people talking to practice communication strategies.

Learn more about the evidence-based speech therapy techniques that can help with mild aphasia using this app:

3) Number Therapy

Number Therapy focuses on understanding, saying, and recording numbers of all kinds. Often numbers are the most difficult category of words to come back after aphasia. This app lets you drill down the problem so it will get easier. Here are some tips for using this app with mild aphasia:

Understand

Set the Field Size to 6, the Difficulty to Hard, and use the Listen mode. Select multiple categories – try them all to start. Then you can see where your problems are to focus on those categories the next time.

Speak

Do you freeze up when you have to give your phone number or zip code? Do times or money amounts make you sweat? Practice saying thousands of numbers in the categories that give you trouble (e.g. select Four Digits: Other for numbers like 8,037) and add your own custom phone numbers to practice.

Type

This is the activity to push your attention, memory, and focus. Choose to Listen, then pick your categories. Seven- and Ten-digit Phone Numbers are the hardest. Type in what you hear on the keypad, then check your answer. For an additional challenge, wait 3-5 seconds after the number is read out before you enter your answer.

Number Therapy

Number Therapy

Communicate numerical concepts with speaking, listening, reading, and writing exercises.

Learn why numbers are such an important part of language that is often neglected during speech therapy:

Bonus App for Mild Aphasia

While the apps above are made with mild aphasia in mind, this app can be used if you’re looking to expand your treatment.

Apraxia Therapy

Use the Long Words activity in Apraxia Therapy to practice pronouncing multi-syllabic words. Finding the rhythm of longer words can help. Each set of words is organized by stress pattern, so you can feel the difference between “so-PHI-sti-ca-ted” and “en-thu-si-AS-tic” as they roll off your tongue.

Apraxia Therapy

Apraxia Therapy

Speak more easily and build independence with video-assisted speech therapy to help people with apraxia after a stroke.

Found this article useful? Download the guide now.

This handout contains all the key information about what to do in each of the recommended apps.

Tactus Therapy Using Apps Mild Aphasia preview

In addition to receiving your free download, you will also be added to our mailing list. You can unsubscribe at any time. Please make sure you read our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.

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Megan S. Sutton, MS, CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and co-founder of Tactus Therapy. She is an international speaker, writer, and educator on the use of technology in adult medical speech therapy. Megan believes that technology plays a critical role in improving aphasia outcomes and humanizing clinical services.

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