Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder in which there is loss or impairment of the ability to use or comprehend words. It affects different aspects of language including speaking, listening, writing, and/or reading. It does not affect intelligence.
Aphasia is one of the most common conditions caused by brain injury (including stroke and aneurysm). More than two million people in the U.S. are currently affected by aphasia according to the National Aphasia Association, but few outside the clinical world know what it is. In fact, given its prevalence, most of us have encountered someone with aphasia but just don’t know it by name.
Anything that damages the language centers of the brain can cause aphasia, including:
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Nearly 180,000 Americans acquire aphasia each year, usually after stroke or other brain injury. Aphasia affects people of all ages, races, nationalities and genders. More than 800,000 people/year have a stroke in the United States, and an estimated 1.7 million experience brain injury, both of which are common causes of aphasia. Aphasia is more prevalent than Parkinson’s, ALS, cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy.
Yes! It is treatable with speech-language therapy. The goal of this kind of therapy is to:
How the aphasia treatment is carried out depends on your circumstances. For example, intensive speech therapy may be recommended for some people, involving a number of sessions given in a shorter period of time. For others, shorter and less intensive sessions may be recommended. Therapy may be in individual sessions, in groups, or at home using computer apps. Recovery from aphasia is possible!