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Recovering Speech with Melodic Intonation Therapy

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Communication is the essence of human connection, but for those living with aphasia, it can feel like a locked door. Aphasia is a neurological condition that affects one's ability to produce and comprehend language. It often follows a stroke or brain injury, leaving individuals struggling to express their thoughts and emotions.

One of the innovative and promising techniques we employ at True Self Speech Therapy is Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT). This approach has shown remarkable results in helping individuals with nonfluent aphasia regain their speech and language abilities.

Understanding Aphasia and Nonfluent Aphasia Aphasia is a complex condition that can manifest in various forms. Nonfluent aphasia, in particular, is characterized by difficulty in producing language. Individuals with nonfluent aphasia often struggle to form complete sentences, articulate words, or even string together basic phrases.

The frustration of not being able to communicate one's thoughts and feelings can be incredibly isolating. However, our use of Melodic Intonation Therapy offers new hope and a pathway to reconnecting with the world.

How Melodic Intonation Therapy Works Melodic Intonation Therapy, as highlighted in recent research, taps into the brain's incredible ability to rewire itself following injury. In our practice, MIT involves the following key elements:

  1. Slowed Speech: MIT encourages individuals to slow down their speech significantly. This pacing allows for greater precision and control in forming words and phrases.

  2. Syllable Emphasis: Words and phrases are broken down into syllables, making it easier for clients to enunciate and produce each sound correctly.

  3. Melodic Elements: Incorporating melody into speech is a critical component of MIT. Singing engages the brain's right hemisphere, stimulating language production. The melodic aspects of MIT help individuals regain their ability to speak and express themselves.

  4. Rhythmic Hand Tapping: Rhythmic hand tapping, synchronized with the spoken words, adds a multisensory element to the therapy. This tactile component assists in coordinating speech and movement.

  5. Therapist Guidance: A trained therapist guides clients through MIT, providing support, feedback, and encouragement at every step.

Unlocking the Right Hemisphere Research has shown that MIT is particularly effective at engaging the right hemisphere of the brain, which plays a crucial role in speech and language recovery. The right posterior inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), supramarginal gyrus (SMG), and other regions become active during MIT. In fact, these brain regions are the keys to unlocking the power of speech.

At True Self Speech Therapy, we have seen improvements in our clients' speech fluency, picture naming performance, and overall language abilities. Our practice is dedicated to individualized care, and we tailor MIT to the specific needs and goals of each client.

A Path Forward with True Self Speech Therapy Our commitment to helping individuals with aphasia reconnect with their loved ones and express their true selves is unwavering. Melodic Intonation Therapy is just one of the powerful tools we use to make this vision a reality.

If you or a loved one is living with aphasia, there is hope. Contact us at True Self Speech Therapy to explore how we can help you unlock the door to communication and rediscover your true self.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with a qualified speech pathologist for a personalized evaluation and treatment plan.

Source: Marchina S, Norton A, Schlaug G. “Effects of melodic intonation therapy in patients with chronic nonfluent aphasia”. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2023 Jan;1519(1):173-185. 30(1):24-35.

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