How strokes, trauma affect communication
WHAT if you wanted to speak but couldn’t string together recognisable words? What if someone spoke to you but you couldn’t understand what they were saying?
These situations aren’t hypothetical for the more than one million Americans with aphasia, which affects the ability to understand and speak with others.
Aphasia occurs in people who have had strokes, traumatic brain injuries or other brain damage. Some victims have a scrambled vocabulary or are unable to express themselves; others find it hard to make sense of the words they read or hear.
The disorder doesn’t reduce intelligence, only a person’s ability to communicate. And although there is no definitive cure, it can be treated. Many people make significant recoveries from aphasia after a stroke, for example.
July is Aphasia Awareness Month, a fine time to learn more about the disorder. The TED-Ed series offers a lesson on aphasia, complete with an engaging video that describes the condition, its causes and its treatment, along with a quiz, discussion questions and other resources.
Created by Susan Wortman-Jutt, a speech-language pathologist who treats aphasia, it’s a good introduction to the disorder and how damage to the brain’s language centres can hamper an individual’s ability to communicate. Another resource is the National Aphasia Association. Its website, aphasia.org, contains information about the disorder and links to support and treatment options. Aphasia can have lasting effects, but there is hope for people whose brains are injured. – Washington Post.