June is National Aphasia Awareness Month
Aphasia is a condition that affects one’s ability to communicate, including the ability to speak, write, and understand language (written and verbal). This often occurs after a stroke or head injury, but it can also come from a disease that causes progressive and irreversible damage such as a brain tumor.
Signs of aphasia can include the following:
- Difficulty speaking
- Substituting one word or sound for another word or sound
- Speaking in unrecognizable words
- Difficulty with or the loss of ability of writing
The type and severity of symptoms depends on the extent of the disease or the area of the brain affected.
There are two main categories of aphasia; expressive and receptive. Expressive aphasia means that an individual will have difficulty speaking or writing. Receptive aphasia means an individual will have difficulty understanding language, both spoken and written. There are several subcategories of aphasia, which you can read about on the National Aphasia Association’s website: https://www.aphasia.org/aphasia-definitions/
Once the underlying cause for aphasia is treated, (e.g. stroke, brain tumor), the main treatment for this condition is speech therapy. People with aphasia may also benefit from attending a support group or group psychotherapy. Pepole with aphasia are prone to social isolation and depression. It is important to monitor those you support with this condition for signs of depression, which you can read more about on the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)’s website: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml#part_145397
The Stroke Association has two helpful factsheets for supporting individuals with aphasia:
- Communication Advice from Experts: Individuals with Aphasia:
- Living with Aphasia:
References and Resources:
Picture source: https://www.aphasia.org/stories/june-aphasia-awareness-month/