Neurogenic Disorders

The Clinic for Rehabilitation of Speech and Language (or ‘Neuro Clinic') provides evidence-based diagnostic and therapeutic intervention for adults with speech and language impairments acquired in adulthood. Acquired neurogenic communication disorders include aphasia, dysarthria, apraxia, and cognitive-communication impairments. These typically result from brain injuries due to stroke, trauma, brain tumors, or progressive neurological diseases (e.g. Parkinson disease, Alzheimer's dementia, ALS, primary progressive aphasia).

People are encouraged to seek our services at sub-acute and chronic stages of recovery. There is ample evidence available today that people who experience a brain injury can still benefit substantially from treatment for speech-language difficulties even years later. We are committed to providing therapy that addresses the underlying impairment, as well as its functional impact on communication in every-day situations.

Diagnostic Clinic

Clients' communicative abilities are evaluated using current standardized assessments of speech, language, and cognitive skills. Results of the evaluation are used to determine recommendations for therapy specific to each client. As appropriate, clients will be referred for individual and/or group treatment within the Neuro Clinic. (Or, if necessary, clients may be placed on a waiting list for therapeutic services.) The evaluation may also serve, with the permission of the client, to determine his or her candidacy for specific research projects.

Therapy is offered in both individualized (one-on-one) and group formats. Treatment is based on semester-long blocks, and is typically scheduled on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. All therapy sessions are conducted by graduate-level student-clinicians, under the direct supervision of licensed and certified faculty members of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Therapy for Neurogenic Communication Disorders

Therapy for Aphasia, Dysarthria and Apraxia: Clients with motor speech impairments (dysarthria or apraxia), and clients with language impairments (aphasia) work on individualized speech and language goals.

Cognitive-Communication Therapy: People who sustain a brain injury, or develop a progressive neurological disease, frequently experience cognitive impairments (e.g. difficulties with attention, memory, or reasoning) that affect their ability to communicate. For these clients, we offer one-on-one therapy to address these impairments and their impact on daily functioning.

Community Services: At times, the Neuro Clinic negotiates contracts to provide diagnostic and therapeutic services to facilities in the community. We may also provide assessment services to nursing homes in the Iowa City area. One such outreach is with the Pathways Adult Day Health Center. Additional details are provided under the "Community Outreach" link.

Research Services: Clients in the Neuro Clinic may be offered opportunities to participate in research studies investigating the nature of acquired speech and language disorders, and the efficacy of state-of-the-art treatment methods. Participation is entirely voluntary, and does not affect clients' candidacy for treatment in the clinic.

Glossary for neurogenic terms

Aphasia is an impairment in the ability to use or understand language that results from damage to brain areas responsible for language. The disorder impairs both the expression and understanding of language, as well as reading and writing. Aphasia is usually caused by a stroke, but can also be caused by other types of brain damage, such as a head injury or brain tumor.

Apraxia is motor planning disorder, an impairment in the execution of a voluntary movement, despite being able to demonstrate normal muscle function. Apraxia of speech affects the movements of articulation.

Cognitive-Communication Impairment is a disruption in communicative functions that results from more general cognitive impairment, typically as a result of a head injury, or the onset of dementia. Communication is usually affected in tasks that place a heavier load on cognitive functions like attention, memory, and social skills.

Dysarthria is a group of speech disorders caused by reductions in the strength or coordination of the muscles of the speech mechanism, as a result of damage to the brain or nerves.