Speech and language therapy approaches to managing primary progressive aphasia

Pract Neurol. 2020 Apr;20(2):154-161. doi: 10.1136/practneurol-2018-001921. Epub 2019 Jul 29.


The term primary progressive aphasia (PPA) describes a group of neurodegenerative disorders with predominant speech and language dysfunction as their main feature. There are three main variants - the semantic variant, the nonfluent or agrammatic variant and the logopenic variant - each with specific linguistic deficits and different neuroanatomical involvement. There are currently no curative treatments or symptomatic pharmacological therapies. However, speech and language therapists have developed several impairment-based interventions and compensatory strategies for use in the clinic. Unfortunately, multiple barriers still need to be overcome to improve access to care for people with PPA, including increasing awareness among referring clinicians, improving training of speech and language therapists and developing evidence-based guidelines for therapeutic interventions. This review highlights this inequity and the reasons why neurologists should refer people with PPA to speech and language therapists.

Keywords: aphasia; frontotemporal dementia; primary progressive aphasia; speech therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aphasia, Primary Progressive / diagnostic imaging*
  • Aphasia, Primary Progressive / therapy*
  • Disease Management*
  • Humans
  • Language Therapy / methods*
  • Language Therapy / trends
  • Speech Therapy / methods*
  • Speech Therapy / trends