What is Aphasia?
Aphasia is a language disorder that results from damage to the language parts of the brain. It is most commonly caused by a stroke. Aphasia is not a term that the average person knows. Most people will only learn what aphasia means when they or someone they know has it.
Aphasia can result in difficulties in one or more language areas : speaking, listening, reading and writing. Aphasia differs in type and severity. One person with aphasia may have mild, occasional word-finding difficulties in conversation while another person with aphasia may only be able to say a few words. Similarly, a person with aphasia could have severe difficulties understanding while another person may still be able to understand spoken language perfectly well.
Does Aphasia Get Better?
Yes, a person with aphasia will improve but there is no cure for aphasia. The biggest improvements often come in the days, weeks and months following a stroke. A person with aphasia can make progress even years post-stroke.
Does Speech Therapy Help People with Aphasia?
Yes, speech therapy is important for individuals with aphasia and it certainly helps in recovery. A speech therapist will assess each individual's language skills. They will determine which language areas have been affected and to what extent. They will work with the person to find out what is most important for them and set goals.
Does Technology Help People with Aphasia?
Yes, the use of technology in speech therapy is growing. It is a wonderful way for people with aphasia to carry out intensive, independent practice at home.
How Can Family Members Help?
Yes, being able to support the communication of a loved one with aphasia is important. Knowing how to do so does not always come easily or naturally. A speech therapist will often work with family members to help them learn how to adapt their own communication to support the person with aphasia.