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June is Aphasia Awareness Month

June 2024 is Aphasia Awareness Month. Aphasia is an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write [1]. Aphasia is the result of a brain injury, most commonly from a stroke, but can result from other acquired brain injuries such as a brain tumor, infection, or head trauma. Brain injury survivors with acquired aphasia have trouble (to varying degrees) communicating with others due to challenges with receptive and/or expressive language. This struggle with communication can result in decreased self-confidence, social isolation, depression, and anxiety. An individual with Aphasia may struggle to comprehend or communicate with others, but it does not mean their intellectual or mental functioning is impaired.  Aphasia is a language disorder; it is not a cognitive disorder. In honor of Aphasia Awareness Month, below are some suggested ways to support someone living with Aphasia [2]:

  • Keep distractions and noise down.
  • Talk to people who have aphasia in adult language.
  • Give the person time to speak and formulate thoughts.
  • Use short phrases and sentences to communicate.
  • Reduce background noise/distractions.
  • Use all forms of communication to reinforce what you are saying.
  • Be an attentive listener.
  • Focus on what the person says, not what s/he doesn’t say.

Lastly, another way to support those with Aphasia is to raise awareness of the issue.

[1] What is Aphasia? – The National Aphasia Association

[2] Communicating with someone with aphasia: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

Brittany Stratton, LCSW
Brain Injury Services Counseling Program

  

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