Aphasia is an acquired neurogenic language disorder resulting from an injury to the brain, most typically the left hemisphere, which affects all language modalities. Aphasia is not a single disorder, but instead is a family of disorders that involve varying degrees of impairment in four primary areas: spoken language expression, spoken language comprehension, written expression, and reading comprehension.
Constraint-induced aphasia therapy (CIAT) is defined as a systematic constraint of verbal and nonverbal communication modalities with massed practice of targeted language skills. CIAT is based and modeled on a physical rehabilitation program for recovery of motor deficits called constraint-induced motor therapy or CIMT.
The overall philosophy of CIMT is to prevent extremity disuse by forcing patients to utilize the affected muscles, while avoiding compensatory non-use techniques. CIMT also provides intensive practice of the targeted motor movements. Even in patients with chronic stroke, CIMT has led to clinical improvements associated with cortical plasticity.