Did You Know: June is National Aphasia Awareness Month

Did You KnowreducedBy: LaTasha A. Macklin, MA

Aphasia is a disorder that results from damage, such as stroke, tumor, infection, or brain injury, to portions of the brain that are responsible for language. The disorder impairs the individual’s ability to express and understand language, including reading and writing.

According to the National Aphasia Association (2011), most people have never heard of Aphasia even though it affects approximately one million Americans and is more common than Parkinson’s Disease, Cerebral Palsy or Muscular Dystrophy!

Aphasia treatment usually involves speech-language therapy sessions in both individual and small group sessions. In some cases, individuals can make a complete recovery without treatment; however, most generally recovery spans a two year time period.

As a family member or friend of someone who suffers from Aphasia, The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (2010) encourages:

  • Simplify your language – use short, uncomplicated sentences.
  • Repeat yourself if needed – repeat key content words or write them down to provide clarity.
  • Be natural – maintain your natural conversational manner.
  • Minimize distractions – turn down or turn off anything producing loud noise whenever possible.
  • Include – include them in conversations, and even ask for their opinion during discussions.
  • Encourage – encourage whatever type of communication they are most comfortable with. This may include speech, gestures, pointing, or even drawing.
  • Avoid correcting – do not correct their speech mistakes and be sure to allow them plenty of time to talk.
  • Help – assist them in becoming involved in activities outside their home. This may include support groups such as a stroke club.

The National Aphasia Association promotes public awareness and understanding of aphasia and provides support to all persons with aphasia and their caregivers. More information can be found on their website.

LaTasha A. Macklin, MA, is a Clinical Psychology PhD student at Walden University. She is a graduate student member of the both the Ohio Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association. Her research interests include etiology of maladaptive behaviors, focusing on adolescence; relationship between personality and childhood resiliency.

References:
Aphasia. (2010). Retrieved February 28, 2014, from http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/pages/aphasia.aspx
Aphasia FAQ. (2011). Retrieved February 28, 2014, from

https://www.aphasia.org/content/aphasia-faq

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