Did you know?
- Stroke, the most common form of aphasia, is the number 5 cause of death in the US
- Aphasia is derived from the Greek, a– meaning “not” and phannai meaning “to speak,” giving its current definition of “loss of speech.”
- Aphasia was sometimes called dysphasia, but that term was discontinued, as it was frequently confused with the term dysphagia, inability or difficulty with swallowing, a condition more common among persons with cerebral palsy.
June is aphasia awareness month!
Derived from the Greek, a-, meaning “not” and phannai meaning “to speak,” giving its current definition of “loss of speech,” aphasia is a condition affecting one’s ability to community, either in speech or the written word, because of a brain injury. Although stroke, triggered by a disruption of blood to the brain, is the main cause, traumatic brain injury can also lead to aphasia. There are five main types of aphasia:
- Global aphasia – this is the most common and severe form; these individuals cannot read, write, or speak and understand little or no spoken language.
- Expressive aphasia (also known as Broca’s aphasia) – individuals have severely limited ability to speak but may understand speech and be able to read.
- Wernicke’s aphasia (also known receptive aphasia) – these people can speak but cannot read or write.
- Mixed non-fluent aphasia – these people have expressive aphasia but are very limited in their ability to read and write.
- Anomic aphasia – these people have difficulty finding the right word for objects, events, or places; it is the least severe form of aphasia.
Anyone seeking to communicate with someone who has aphasia should keep the following in mind:
- Keep it simple; use short sentences.
- Be patient; repeat, if necessary, and allow the person to respond.
- Remove distractions such as TVs and stereos.
- Use various forms of communication, such as writing, gestures, or a tablet computer.
- Confirm and acknowledge what the other person has said.
- Use a normal tone of voice; people with aphasia are not deaf or hard of hearing.
In other words, communication is still possible; you only need to do so differently and with more creativity.