Did you know that June is Aphasia Awareness Month? Aphasia is a communication disorder that makes it difficult to communicate with language. Aphasia occurs after a neurological injury (often a stroke) and affects approximately 180,000 people in the United States every year! Aphasia can impact any aspect of language—speaking, listening, reading or writing—but does not impact a person’s level of intelligence. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of what aphasia is or don’t recognize it when they meet someone who has the condition. This means that there are often misunderstandings in which people assume a person with aphasia is intellectually impaired. This can be extremely frustrating for the person with aphasia and can make communication even more difficult.
One great solution to help people with aphasia let others know what their condition is, how it impacts their language abilities, and what the other person can do to improve communication is to carry an “Aphasia ID Card.”
An Aphasia ID Card looks much like a business card, but instead of professional information, contains information about what aphasia is and how it impacts communication. Many people also include strategies that will help them understand or communicate better. For example, a card might say something like,
“Hello! My name is Mike Smith and I have aphasia, a disorder that impacts my ability to use language. My intelligence isn’t affected, but I do have trouble speaking and understanding speech. This can be very frustrating for me. To help me, you can:
- speak slowly and clearly
- give me plenty of time to respond
- write down important words
- ask yes/no questions
You can make your own card from scratch, but there are also many templates available on-line that you can customize and print on your own. Check out this great site from The Aphasia Center to get started!
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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