Fri 1 Jun 2012
Aphasia affects about one million Americans, it is more common than Parkinson’s disease, yet very few have ever heard of it. Aphasia is a disorder in which one’s ability to speak and understand others is affected. Most of those affected experience difficulty reading and writing as well. A person’s intelligence is not affected.
Though not a well-known disorder, many individuals likely know someone affected, particularly those who have suffered a recent stroke. About 40% of individuals with aphasia are stroke survivors. Head injuries or brain tumors are other causes. Aphasia may occur in people of any age, race or gender.
Regardless of cause, recovery from aphasia is often a slow process. If the symptoms of aphasia last longer than two or three months following a stroke, a complete recovery is unlikely. Individuals do, however, continue to improve over a period of years. During the recovery process, it is vital that family members and friends understand the nature of the disorder and develop communication strategies to make the process smoother.
In order to help, friends and family members should give the person time to speak, be sensitive to background noises, and be open to other forms of communication besides speech (such as drawing or gesturing). Aphasia is often a frustrating disorder for both the
affected individuals and those around them. Information and patience can a long way in helping to cope with this challenging disorder.
(information is from the National Aphasia Association website at www.aphasia.org)