Written By: Megan
June was Aphasia Awareness Month. Aphasia is a condition that affects the language parts of the brain. One or more of the following language modalities could be affected: speaking, understanding the speech of others, reading, writing, gesturing, and/or using numbers. Each person’s symptoms vary.
Here are some quick facts about aphasia:
- Two million people have aphasia in the USA.
- 84.5% of people have never heard the term aphasia.
- Most people acquire aphasia as the result of a stroke; however, there are many causes including traumatic brain injury, anoxia, etc.
- More people have aphasia than many common conditions including Parkinson’s disease or cerebral palsy.
- Research has shown that aphasia survivors have a lower quality of life than cancer or Alzheimer’s patients.
Article source: https://www.aphasia.org/aphasia-resources/aphasia-factsheet/
To get an aphasia survivor’s perspective, I included responses to questions from Cindy, myself, Nathan, and Yvette.
- What type of aphasia do you have?
Cindy: I have expressive aphasia.
Megan: Initially, I had global aphasia. Over time, my expressive speech came back with lots of work and therapy. Currently, I have problems on the auditory processing side of language.
Yvette: In the beginning, I had global aphasia. Now, I have anomic aphasia.
- How has aphasia affected your life?
Cindy: I have problems speaking, reading, and writing.
Megan: I have problems understanding speech and talking on the phone.
Yvette: In the beginning, I was really messed up. Now, at times, I have problems finding the right word.
- How has your aphasia improved over time?
Cindy: My speech got better.
Megan: In the beginning, I couldn’t speak or understand anything. My expressive speech and my ability to understand language came back with lots of therapy and work. My communication skills have improved significantly from the beginning. I’m now a Communications lead at BIND.
Yvette: I went from having global aphasia to anomic aphasia.
- What do you do to improve your aphasia now?
Cindy: I attend BIND and speech therapy.
Megan: I attend BIND two days a week. I volunteer at a horse rescue, hospital, and library. At the hospital, I work at the information desk and direct people to doctor’s offices and patient rooms. I get lots of communication practice at the hospital.
Yvette: I attend BIND.
- What do you wish that other people understood about aphasia?
Cindy: We need to find a way to end stroke.
Megan: Intelligence is not affected by aphasia.
Yvette: I wish people would help me find the right word.