Aphasia Awareness Month: Moving forward as a family

tired-womanJune is National Aphasia Awareness Month! In support of this campaign to raise public awareness about aphasia, our blogs in the month of June will deal with issues in aphasia: today we conclude our series by talking about how aphasia not only affects the victim, but their family and loved ones as well, and what support services are available.

Aphasia typically occurs suddenly, often as a result of a stroke or traumatic brain injury. Because of this, a family can suddenly find that their entire world has changed overnight with a myriad of challenges to face. After the shock of the initial injury begins to fade, other issues often become apparent. As it becomes clear that the person with aphasia may not be able to return to all of the activities they once were able to do, financial and emotional problems often surface, as well as logistical problems with how to overcome day-to-day obstacles. This can put strain on a family that is already under a lot of emotional stress.

One step towards a positive recovery is discussing the disability with a speech-language pathologist. Having performed a comprehensive evaluation of the individual’s communication, the speech therapist can help the family to understand their loved one’s particular strengths and weaknesses. By having a better idea where the person’s communication abilities lie, family members can better tailor their own communication strategies to best connect with their loved one. Sometimes, atypical emotional and social responses can also occur as a result of the location of the brain damage. A speech-language pathologist can help family members to recognize and anticipate these issues, providing resources for understanding the emotional ramifications of aphasia.

There are also a variety of groups targeted toward providing support to individuals with aphasia and their families. Being able to discuss the experience with others who are going through the same challenges can be extremely therapeutic. Ask your speech-language pathologist or physician what groups are available in your area.

Want to learn more? 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 jayne@speechassociatesofny.com. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.

© 2015, Speech Associates of New York – All Rights Reserved

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