La Trobe leads national aphasia trial

Every 10 minutes across the country someone has a stroke – 30% of stroke survivors face difficulty speaking, understanding speech, reading and writing. This is called aphasia

It is an isolating and frustrating experience and can happen to people of all ages. 100,000 Australians are living with aphasia - more than the combined total of those with Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Motor Neurone Disease.

La Trobe University aphasia experts are leading the way in looking at new and targeted treatment options to maximise recovery and communication for these people. This is about harnessing the neuroplasticity of the brain and how best to target treatment activities that stimulate neuronal recovery and reorganisation.     

Aphasia expert Associate Professor Miranda Rose is directing a unique national trial on aphasia which will compare the effectiveness of 3 different therapies for people with the condition. There is hope that the treatments will improve the communication skills and quality of life for people living with this challenging disability. Importantly, the trial results will mean that patients get the right treatment for their individual needs thereby reducing unnecessary health care spending.

The La Trobe team are recruiting participants across Melbourne and interstate.

Treatment 1 is called – Constraint therapy. This involves a person with aphasia only being allowed to attempt speak in the therapy sessions.

Treatment 2 is called - Multi-modal therapy. This allows the participant to speak, read, write, draw and gesture.

Treatment 3 – is the usual care therapy the person with aphasia is receiving in the community.

Trial participants must have aphasia after a stroke – and had the stroke between 6 months and 15 years ago. Assessment appointments can be undertaken in participants' homes while therapy sessions will take place in local community settings. Those in constraint and multi-modal therapy groups will be treated in groups of 3  - this is new – traditional therapy is done individually.

The treatments are intensive – 30 hours spanning 5 days a week for two weeks. This is also novel as most current therapy is done at a low intensity.

For more information or to participate in the trial go to

Media contact: Catherine Garrett, 9479 6565/ 0418 964 325