A Closer Look

iTAWC is an example of what has come to be known as an “ICAP” (an Intensive Comprehensive Aphasia Program). This means that it is one of a handful of programs world-wide that offer a variety of treatment methods and approaches to people with aphasia, including those focused on recovery, social participation and technology, within an intensive treatment format. iTAWC is on the cutting edge of evidence-based aphasia treatment.

Program Overview

 iTAWC runs for four weeks.  The first and last days are filled with activities such as orientation, assessment, client and family interview, client/family/therapist meetings, and debriefing.  For the remaining eighteen days, clients receive 3 hours per day (5 days a week) of highly personalized speech and language therapy.

Treatment Details

The program is truly intensive. For this reason, it is very important for participants to have adequate stamina and endurance to enroll in our program. The daily schedule is 8:30 to 12PM (subject to change), with short breaks as necessary.

Approaches / Methods Used

The approaches and methods used reflect the developers’ commitment to the key concepts of intensity, the primacy of verbal language, small numbers of participants, a high degree of personalization of both materials and goals, a high ratio of staff to clients and use of current research in the field, including research regarding neuroplasticity and social/life participation approach to aphasia. Up to date technology is used, including computer programs for speech practice, iPad applications as needed and email/tech/social media strategy/practice. Here are some highlights of iTAWC:

  • Individual program goals are developed in concert with each client and their family members and target improvement of speech and language skills as well as life participation and community integration
  • Massed practice and intensity are cornerstones of our approach
  • Throughout the program, we carefully plan a follow-up program for each client, written in an aphasia-friendly format, which can be used by each client to continue making use of skills learned after the program ends
  • We use vocabulary and highly customized materials specific to each client’s daily activities
  • Individual speech and language therapy sessions each day,
  • “Labs” with a focus on practical communication skills are available daily.
  • Verbal expression ( “talking”) is the major focus of the program for most clients
  • Constraint Induced Language Therapy, Treatment of Underlying Forms, Verb Network Strengthening Treatment, Multiple Oral Re-reading, Aphasia Scripts, Rosenbeck’s Eight Step Continuum, Oral Reading for Language in Aphasia and more evidence-based treatment approaches are used with clients, as and if appropriate for their needs. (See Links and References for details).
  • Computer-based and tablet activities specific to individual needs for both recovery-based treatment and for helping clients stay socially connected to friends and family after the program ends,
  • Small group activities/discussions with prescribed themes
  • A private consultation with an experienced technology consultant for each client is included
  • Family meetings, support and education are an important component of iTAWC

Family Involvement

At iTAWC, we know that family and friends are an integral part of the life and recovery of people with aphasia.  Hence, a family intake and exit interview are part of our treatment and assessment process.  While family members are not required to be available throughout the entire five weeks, we do encourage interested friends and family members to participate if they and their family members wish.  (There may also be some times when we ask that family members stay home, in order to provide our clients the opportunity for more independence in communication.)  Assuming that the client with aphasia agrees, family members are included in the goal-setting and follow up training for their loved one.

family meeting for aphasia therapyfamily and speech-language pathologist during aphasia treatmentLeft:  Family meetings include the whole team: SLPs, students, clients and family members.

Right:  In the foreground, a client, her care worker, her sister, an SLP student intern and one of her SLPs explore relevant technology, while in the background, a client, his wife, a student intern, the senior SLP and the staff SLP assigned to him have a family “exit” meeting.

Call us today at 604-875-9100 or email itawc@columbiaspeech.com with your questions or to register.