Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Stroke, aphasia have no political convictions

I've tried to avoid politics on this blog. A stroke doesn't care about your political convictions - strokes kill and disable too many people regardless of their political stripes.

Aphasia, too, is a too-common condition with stroke survivors. It affects speech. In my case, I stopped speaking for a few hours, struggled with speaking for weeks and still - at least in my own mind - must concentrate harder to speak. Fortunately, aphasia doesn't affect intelligence. Click here to read more about aphasia.

But politics and aphasia collided recently when a spokesperson from the Donald Trump presidential campaign diagnosed opponent Hillary Clinton with "dysphasia," another word for aphasia.

The National Aphasia Association responded:
In response to a recent statement by Trump campaign spokesperson, Katrina Pierson, and the article which appeared in the Washington Post, the Board of Directors of the National Aphasia Association, the organization representing individuals with aphasia, would like to set the record straight. Aphasia  (or dysphasia) is a condition affecting manipulation of language, including comprehension, reading, writing and speaking. Aphasia does not affect intelligence. Aphasia is a clinical diagnosis made by a neurologist or a speech-language pathologist. Aphasia is not a term applied to an individual who is selectively pacing her speech in order to deliver an appropriate and thoughtful message, or a person in her 60’s who might occasionally pause on a word.  A diagnosis of aphasia by a campaign spokesperson in a political campaign is inappropriate and offensive to the approximately 2 million Americans and their families who struggle with communication following a stroke or other brain trauma.
So vote however your conscience dictates. But take aphasia seriously, not politically.

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