Friday, June 13, 2008

What's aphasia? Many stroke survivors know

This month (June) is Aphasia Awareness Month - and if you're like me, you weren't aware of aphasia until it hit close to home. Or maybe you're still unfamiliar.

So what is aphasia?

The National Aphasia Association defines it this way:
Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder that impairs a person's ability to process language, but does not affect intelligence. Aphasia impairs the ability to speak and understand others, and most people with aphasia experience difficulty reading and writing.
... The most common cause of aphasia is stroke (about 25-40 percent of stroke survivors acquire aphasia). It can also result from head injury, brain tumor or other neurological causes.
... Aphasia affects about 1 million Americans - or 1 in 250 people - and is more common than Parkinson's Disease, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. More than 100,000 Americans acquire the disorder each year. However, most people have never heard of it.
I was hit by aphasia with my stroke, and through speech therapy, was able to regain my speaking, reading and writing ability. I suspect most people in similar circumstances wonder, from time to time, about a forgotten or misused word or a need to re-read a sentence: Would I have made that mistake if the stroke never happened? Another one of those unanswerable questions.

So if you know a stroke survivor, you might well know someone impaired - temporarily or permanently - with aphasia. Visit the National Aphasia Association Web site and review the resources. And share awareness of aphasia with others.


Unknown said...

I would like to ask permission to use the image displayed on the site ( for a Speech-Language website in the aphasia section.
Could you let me know how I need to go about it please?

Thanks in advance,

Louisa Wirth

Jeff Porter said...

Hi, Louisa - I'd check with the National Aphasia Association ( for the image. People who work with speech-language issues are a blessing!