Did you know that 80,000 people are diagnosed with aphasia every year in the United States? By 2020, it’s estimated that up to 2,000,000 people in the United States will have aphasia. To raise public awareness of this disorder, each year June is observed as National Aphasia Awareness month. In support of this campaign, we’ll be running several blogs in the month of June dealing with issues in aphasia: what it is, how it impairs communication, and how speech-language therapy can help.
Aphasia is a language disorder which affects the ability to produce or understand spoken or written language following a neurological injury. The effects of aphasia can vary greatly from person to person depending on the extent and type of neurological damage; while some people may have some slight difficulty with word retrieval, others may be almost completely unable to communicate using speech. Communication can be challenging for a person with aphasia as well as their loved ones. Check out these great tips from the National Stroke Association for communicating with a person with aphasia:
- Always assume that the stroke survivor can hear. Check understanding with yes/no questions.
- Use sentences that are short and to the point.
- Keep the noise level down and stand where the survivor can see you.
- Remember to treat the stroke survivor as an adult and let him or her share in decision-making. No one likes to be ignored. Include the survivor in your conversation.
- Be patient with the person with aphasia. Give them the time they need to try to speak and get their point across to you. This not only respects their dignity, but makes it less stressful for them when communicating
If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.
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