The importance of language in adults has until recently been analysed exclusively from a medical and clinical point of view. There is an increasing tendency to provide assistance and rehabilitation to these patients, as the degree of acceptance can greatly complicate their quality of life. Therefore, we can say that language is a fundamental aspect for avoiding cognitive deterioration in adults.
Causes of speech disorders
There are many causes, but an example could be aphasia caused by a stroke, which would then require treatment in order to achieve any degree of recovery. Cognitive impairment is also increasingly present in a society whose individuals live longer, but whose cognitive abilities no longer function at full capacity.
Early linguistic symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Linguistic alterations in patients with Alzheimer’s, such as anomie (word forgetfulness), occur in the early stages and can therefore serve as symptoms for early detection.
It is widely known that the main symptom of this pathology is the lack of short-term memory, and within this falls working memory, auditory memory and verbal memory.
The existence of these signs would lead a specialist to assess a patient’s neurological state and, if required, develop speech therapy intervention.
How to tackle language disorder in adults
Curbing these kinds of problems in adults is difficult, especially if they are acquired. It is a matter of intervening and working with them in the recovery of functions.
Verbal fluency recovery. The patient needs to recover access to vocabulary and grammar construction. Brain-damaged adults who lose their expressive capacity have one main characteristic: lack of verbal fluency. They resort to very limited and even phonetically altered short sentences.
This recovery work is usually carried out by a speech therapist in collaboration with other professionals using techniques that gradually restore the individual’s speech functions.
Is lack of stimulation a cause of language disorder and cognitive impairment?
Lack of stimulation can be a trigger for cognitive decline. In fact, current studies indicate that the lack of auditory stimulation due to health issues such as hearing loss (deafness) generates this type of deterioration.
Misperceiving environmental stimuli can generate a kind of generalized cognitive blackout and accelerate neurological aging processes.
These discoveries are of great interest because thanks to them these problems can be tackled early, when the chances of recovery are higher.
Techniques for new language automation
Speech is an automatic process and there are techniques to help patients recover it should they have lost it. In some cases it is recovered fully, in others only partially, and in some specific patients no progress is made at all. It all depends on the neuronal plasticity that the individual possesses after the damage suffered.
There are no tricks or shortcuts. The only useful thing is daily training and effort. The Deixis team at Hospital Ochoa encourages its patients to think of their cognitive rehabilitation as gym sessions for the brain, and to strengthen their neurology via stimulation and effort.