Conclusions and Recommendations
The international community of speech-language pathologists who work in the field of aphasia rehabilitation is a vibrant one. Proactive and responsive to introducing demonstrated therapies and the wishes of the people with aphasia and their families into clinical practice. It is affirming to have observed that aphasia rehabilitation practices in Australia are well advanced, with research and clinical practice in a strong position and well regarded by colleagues around the world.
A summary of points that resonated for ongoing attention for my own practice and to disseminate to colleagues at my workplace and the Speech Pathology community are:-
Making communication a core task in neurorehabilitation. All staff who work with people who have communication difficulties should have the benefit of training in the strategies of supported conversation with people with aphasia.
Changes to the status quo, be it resources, therapies or time, provide a challenge to be innovative and do things differently. Changes that limit service offer the challenge to make sure what is done is done effectively.
Status quo is also an invitation to move forward, looking for new developments. The development and sustainability of new programs benefit from having champions involved.
As paradigms shift, not everything that went before needs to be abandoned. New combinations of parts might make a greater whole.
Research clinicians or Clinical researchers - evidence based therapies must be translated into clinical practice. Adapting protocols to effect the translation must maintain therapy integrity.
High tech innovations and apps to augment communication are continually advancing. There is always a place for the low-tech option – _a yes/no, a pen and notebook and an interested conversational partner.
Aphasia rehabilitation is a dynamic, evolving process in partnership with people with aphasia.
Keywords: Aphasia, stroke, rehabilitation, Aphasia therapy, rehabilitation post stroke