What You Need to Know About Aphasia
Aphasia is a language disorder that affects nearly two million Americans’ ability to communicate. A person affected by aphasia can often suffer from the loss of ability to understand or express speech.
CAUSE & SYMPTOMS
Aphasia is caused by a brain injury. It is most commonly caused from a stroke, but can also occur from head trauma, brain tumors, or infections. Symptoms of aphasia can include:
- Speaking in short or incomplete sentences
- Speaking in sentences that don’t make sense
- Substituting one word for another or one sound for another
- Speaking unrecognizable words
- Not understanding other people’s conversation
- Writing sentences that don’t make sense
Treating aphasia can vary depending on one’s level of impairment. Often, aphasia is treated with speech and language therapy to help relearn or build skills to communicate with others. In addition, support groups often provide a safe environment for practice their communication skills and gain confidence.
TALKING TO SOMEONE WITH APHASIA
Adventist HealthCare Rehabilitation’s Community Aphasia Group shared suggestions on communicating with someone with aphasia.
- When I get stuck in conversation, ask me whether I would like help or whether I would prefer to just have more time.
- When you want to talk to me, make sure you are right in front of me, and make sure that we can see each other’s faces.
- Keep an eye out for me to make sure I’m getting a chance to participate in the conversation. Occasionally ask me if I have something to add.
- If I am having a lot of trouble expressing myself, you can ask me to try writing it down instead.
- Speak a bit slower, and pause now and then, so I can process the conversation better.