RPBG Speech Pathology launches Primary Progressive Aphasia Therapy Group

Jonathan Rafols and Lara Rushton.
August 26, 2019

Speech Pathology Week (25 - 31 August) seeks to promote the work done by speech pathologists with the more than 1.2 million Australians who have a communication disability which impacts on daily life. The theme for this year’s Speech Pathology Week is communicating with confidence.

To coincide with the beginning of Speech Pathology Week, the RPBG Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) Therapy Group has launched at Bentley Health Service. The group will operate in conjunction with the RPH Neurology and Geriatric Medicine departments to treat diagnosed and suspected cases of PPA.

PPA is a language disturbance in which a person’s language ability slowly and progressively deteriorates over time. People suffering from PPA slowly lose the ability to speak, listen, read and write, eventually becoming unable to communicate.

The group is facilitated by Lara Rushton, BHS Speech Pathologist, and supported by Jonathan Rafols, the manager of BHS Speech Pathology. Consultant Neurology physician Dr Carolyn Orr was also instrumental in establishing the therapy group.

Initially, the group will consist of six participants attending a 10-week block of therapy with room to expand as the program progresses. Each session is designed to engage patients with the therapist and therapy activities are designed to maintain and improve communication skills. Patient’s carers will also be involved in the group, with emphasis on carer education and providing advice to carers around how to communicate with patients who have PPA.

For people suffering from PPA, language impairment is the primary symptom. Speech pathology plays an important role in assisting individuals with PPA and their carers cope and improving quality of life. As with any language disturbance, the frustration that comes with not being able to communicate is one of the most significant issues, one that this therapy group is designed to address.