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Why Memory Exercises Are Important for People with Aphasia

In my personal experience, almost NO ONE has ONLY Aphasia. And research supports that most people with Aphasia have some other cognitive deficits as well. These guys (I mean, extremely esteemed researchers) say it best:

“Individuals with aphasia (IWA) show various impairments in speech, language, and cognitive functions. Working memory (WM), a cognitive system that functions to hold and manipulate information in support of complex, goal-directed behaviors, is one of the impaired cognitive domains in aphasia”

Maryam Nikravesh, Mahshid Aghajanzadeh, Saman Maroufizadeh, Arezoo Saffarian, Zahra Jafari, Working memory training in post-stroke aphasia: Near and far transfer effects, Journal of Communication Disorders, Volume 89, 2021

Memory exercises work by strengthening the connections between neurons in the brain. When we learn something new or repeat an activity, the neurons in our brain form new connections, a process known as neuroplasticity. Over time, these connections can become stronger, improving the brain's ability to process information.

For people with aphasia, memory exercises can help improve their language skills by strengthening the connections in the brain that are responsible for language processing. This can include activities such as repeating words or phrases, completing word puzzles, and recalling lists of words.

Other cognitive deficits someone with Aphasia might have can include problems with attention, the ability to process information, and more. Working memory is so important in learning, decision-making, problem-solving, etc. So exercising your working memory can improve your ability to generalize your learning. AND it can positively impact your language skills. So it’s a win-win to exercise both memory and language.

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