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  • Writer's pictureEngage PT, OT, SLP Therapy and Wellness

What is Aphasia?

Aphasia affects about 2 million people in the United States, but most people don’t even know what it is. Educating the general public is a big first step in getting people with aphasia the help they need.

Aphasia is difficulty understanding and/or using language. It can affect speech, reading, and writing. It usually happens after a stroke, but can also be from brain tumors, head injuries, or other neurological conditions. Some people have mild aphasia that is barely noticeable, while others may have difficulty saying even a single word.

Aphasia is sometimes mistaken for a hearing loss or a loss of intelligence. Imagine knowing exactly what you want to say, but being unable to use speech and language to communicate it. How would you feel if the person you were talking with just got loud or started yelling, assuming that would help you understand him better? This is an example of a daily frustration that a person living with aphasia might experience.

Communication Tips

If yelling is not the answer, how can we help people with aphasia communicate more easily? Here are some top communication tips:

  • be patient, allow extra time

  • speak slowly

  • acknowledge the frustration

  • use short, simple sentences

  • use and encourage gestures, writing, and drawing

  • provide choices and yes/no questions

  • if you don't understand, say so

  • repeat back to confirm

If you have been experiencing word finding our speech therapists have experience working with individuals and have more strategies that may help. Please contact our office at 315-810-2423 or with any questions about how we may be able to help you!

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