Andrea Vianello is a journalist and TV presenter. His life goes on normally until, one morning, his carotid is torn, preventing blood from reaching the brain. After a very delicate intervention, Vianello finds himself aphasic: lost his language. The book Every word I knew tells about his journey, from the morning of the event to his return home, passing through the hospital stay to recovery at Santa Lucia.
Those who work in the field of speech therapy rehabilitation, after a short time, enter an "altered normality" where the patient with language, reading or writing difficulties represents, in fact, normality rather than the exception. This book tells, instead, aphasia seen from the inside. Unlike other conditions such as some brain tumors or the dementias, ischemia is a dry event, which in an instant distorts the life of an individual: we see it, for example, in the passage in which Vianello looks at the messages on the cell phone received the day before without being able to answer.
Another aspect to reflect on, from the clinician's point of view, is that, in the already discussed "altered everyday life", we take for granted a whole series of notions and specialist terms (apraxia, neglect, paraphasia) which, on the contrary they represent unknown terrain for patients. Even someone who, like a journalist, has been dealing with language for a lifetime and living literally with words, may never have come across in functional levels of language, in the cognitive mechanisms of articulation, reading and writing: the beauty of written and oral language, in fact, is its simplicity of execution and, until an event such as ischemia occurs, we take it for granted as breathing. For this it is necessary always take your time and explain: the patient who goes blind, following only the therapist's instructions, will find it very difficult to understand the meaning of all the activities that are proposed, nor will he be able to find strategies independently. As Seneca said, there is no favorable wind for the sailor who does not know where to go.
Finally, the passage in which Vianello anxiously awaits the speech therapist was very touching for me, to the point of starting to look for her around the Santa Lucia after a few minutes from the estimated start of her session. We must never forget how much patients, especially those of working age, put their hopes on speech therapy to start communicating and working again, hopefully as before. To them it is necessary to dedicate 100% of our competence, our attention and our efforts, despite the fact that the life of a clinician is made up, like that of everyone else, of personal problems and particularly busy days.
Aphasia has not only an emotional but also an economic cost for the patient and his family. Some people, for economic reasons, limit their rehabilitation possibilities, despite the evidence supporting the need for intensive and constant work. For this reason, since September 2020, all our apps can be used for free online. It is possible to use the web-apps offline on your pc download aphasia KIT. This collection contains 5 web-apps (Write the word, Lexical comprehension, Naming of syllables, Recognize syllables and Table of syllables) to be used on a PC and more than a thousand pages of cards with activities to print, communication tables and various materials.
We have also created three large collections of activities on the PDF language divided by area:
- Building the sentences: 35 cards
- Lexicon and semantics: 150 cards
- Syllables and metaphonology: 160 entries
In the hope that the free availability of these materials can help those who need them to recover quickly and completely.