- Is an acquired communication disorder caused by damage to the language centres of the brain.
- Is most commonly caused by a stroke but can also be caused by brain tumors, infections, injuries and dementia. The type of problem you have and how bad it is depends on which part of your brain is damaged and how much damage there is.
- Is characterized by an impairment involving any or all of the language modalities including speaking, listening, reading and writing.
- Is not the result of a sensory deficit or general intellectual deficit or psychiatric disorder.
- Masks competence normally revealed in communication.
- Can have huge effects on social communication, even for people with mild aphasia.
- Can be classified in many different ways, and researchers and clinicians use a variety of methods in different contexts. For example, aphasia may be categorized based on neuroanatomical damage, or in contrast by using descriptive characteristics that emphasize different patterns of preserved abilities versus impairment.
For people with aphasia, loss of language can be a major barrier to social participation in a host of activities that previously were part of their everyday lives. All too often, people with aphasia lose far more than language; they also lose vocational, social, and recreational opportunities that were once taken for granted. For them and for those close to them, then, it can be challenging to find ways to cope with their remaining impairments, to find meaning in their changed identity, and to live successfully with their aphasia. Many people with aphasia, probably more than we realize, accomplish this. However, aphasia itself can make it difficult for them to find ways to share their expertise with others, and once discharged from formal intervention programs they may have little or no opportunity to so.
For More Information:
- The Aphasia Institute (www.aphasia.ca) – A Toronto-based organization assisting individuals with aphasia, their families, and professionals in the field
- The National Aphasia Association (www.aphasia.org) – A nonprofit organization devoted to assisting people with aphasia and their families. Its online offerings include fact sheets on aphasia, and support group information
- UK Connect (www.ukconnect.org) – A charity that aims to improve the lives of individuals living with aphasia, equipping them to reconnect with life
- School of Audiology and Speech Science’s Aphasia Mentoring Program (http://www.audiospeech.ubc.ca/research/acquired-language-disorders-lab) – A look at current research taking place at UBC
- People Will Talk (www.peoplewilltalk.ca) – An individual with aphasia’s personal website
- Stroke Recovery Association of BC (www.strokerecoverybc.ca) – A nonprofit organization endeavouring to assist stroke survivors and their families to recover to the best of their abilities in all aspects of life
- North Shore Stroke Recovery Association (www.nssrc.org) – An organization providing resources, programs & services to individuals with aphasia