Advance with MUSC Health

Ask A Speech-Language Pathologist: Kikki Thayer, SLP, Answers Your Questions About Aphasia

Advance With MUSC Health
December 05, 2023
Kristen Thayer, SLP

During Better Hearing Month, we asked what some of your questions were concerning aphasia, a condition that affects over 2 million people in the United States. Kikki Thayer is one of our Speech-Language Pathologists at MUSC Health. Below, she answers a few frequently asked questions about aphasia.

Q: How can I support someone with aphasia during communication?

A: When communicating with someone with aphasia, you want to make sure to make eye contact with them and to speak at a nice, easy, natural pace. You should not talk too fast but not talk down to them either. You want to make sure that you are not speaking too loudly, making sure that your volume is a normal volume.

You want to allow extra time for them to fully process and understand what you are saying, as well as formulate their own thought to express them back to you. You do not want to correct their speech or finish their thoughts for them unless they have asked you to.

Q: How does a Speech Language Pathologist help someone with aphasia?

A: A speech-language pathologist initially helps a person with aphasia by doing a full evaluation of their language abilities to determine the best way for them to communicate. After that, there is a two-pronged approach for treatment. We are always working on trying to improve the language problems they are having while at the same time teaching them ways to work around those problems by offsetting their weaknesses with their natural strengths.

Q: Are there research opportunities at MUSC for persons with aphasia?

A: If you are a person with aphasia and you are interested in participating in research, MUSC has three studies running through the stroke recovery research center. If this is something you are interested in learning more about, you can contact Michelle Moore.

Q: Does aphasia impact intelligence levels?

A: Aphasia is a language disorder that impacts the way that you communicate. Aphasia does not change your intelligence level or impact the way you think. It can affect the way that you communicate your thoughts as well as impact the way you understand things. It can change your ability to read, type and write.

Q: Is there support available in our community for people with aphasia?

A: The Charleston Area Aphasia Support Group meets the last Friday of every month at 2:30 PM at MUSC Midtown in Mount Pleasant. All persons with aphasia as well as their caregivers, are welcome to attend.

Experiencing symptoms of aphasia or interested in learning more?

Kristen "Kikki" Thayer is a Speech-Language Pathologist at MUSC Health in Charleston whose clinical interests and expertise include Neurogenic Cognitive and/or Communication Disorders in Adolescents and Adults and Adult Concussion/Mild TBI Practice Support.

Our team of voice and swallowing specialists prides itself on offering you innovative care and developing treatment plans specific to your needs.

Learn about our Laryngology/Voice & Swallowing Team or call (843) 792-3531.