Home > Common Disorders > Aphasia


By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 22 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Aphasia dysphasia language Difficulty

Over 250000 people in the United Kingdom suffer from aphasia, also known as dysphasia. These people find it hard to use or understand language whether it be in speaking, reading or writing. Aphasia is still relatively unknown to those not affected by it in the UK, so many people have questions about this condition. Below are some basic answers to frequently asked questions about aphasia.

What is aphasia?

Aphasia is a condition that makes communication difficult because an individual has trouble with language while they are talking, listening, writing and/or sometimes using numbers. Aphasia is sometimes also called dysphasia.

What are the Causes of Aphasia?

Aphasia occurs when the communication areas of the brain are damaged and so affects each individual differently. There are some common causes of this condition. Stroke, head injury, tumours, brain haemorrhage and other neurological conditions have all been known to cause aphasia.

Does Aphasia Ever Go Away?

Again, aphasia affects each individual differently and this remains true for the expected recovery from aphasia. While some individuals make remarkable progress with their language skills, others may take years but still see some progress over the entire time. Some individuals may recover most of their language skills, others may not recover many at all. There is no real way of knowing how someone affected by aphasia will progress.

Can Individuals with Aphasia Communicate?

Individuals with aphasia can communicate, though it may be slower or in a different manner than others. When communicating with someone suffering from aphasia, be sure to select a quiet environment and maintain eye contact throughout. Speak slowly, in short sentences and ask questions that require a yes or no answer rather than an explanation.

If someone with aphasia is speaking to you, be honest if you do not understand him or her. It does not help anyone involved to lie. Also avoid interrupting someone with aphasia. Allow him or her the time they need to complete the communication.

What If Speaking is Difficult for Someone with Aphasia?

If someone with aphasia has a hard time speaking, consider other modes of communication. Writing may work well, as may the use of pictures or props. Easy symbols of confirmation, such as a thumbs up or down, or a nod or a shake of the head, may also be useful.

Why Are Some Days Better than Others for People with Aphasia?

People with aphasia have good and bad days just like everyone else, but the bad days often take their toll on the individual’s ability to communicate. If someone is tired, sick or even stressed out it might be that their communication skills are weakened.

Is there a Cure for Aphasia?

In short, no. There is no single cure that will quickly and easily reverse or otherwise eradicate aphasia. Any prognosis for an individual’s future should be discussed with the medical professionals involved in that specific case.

Where Can I Find Further Information on Aphasia?

Medical professionals will be able to provide further information on aphasia, as well a number of support organisations. Connect, the Communication Disability Network will be able to offer information, advice and support, as will Speakability, the National Charity for People with Aphasia . This charity runs a helpline for further information, and will contact specialist advisors as needed to answer questions.

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