Imagine you wake up one morning ..

.. unable to speak, read, write or understand others

Welcome to the world of Aphasia!

AphasiaNow are here to help you!

Together we can share information, get back on our feet, find support and help overcome Aphasia.

What is Aphasia, used synonymously with Dysphasia?

Quoted from the Mayo Clinic

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Aphasia is a condition that robs you of the ability to communicate.

Aphasia can affect your ability to express and understand language, both verbal and written.

Aphasia typically occurs suddenly after a stroke or a head injury. But it can also come on gradually from a slowly growing brain tumor or a degenerative disease. The amount of disability depends on the location and the severity of the brain damage.

Once the underlying cause has been treated, the primary treatment for aphasia is speech therapy that focuses on relearning and practicing language skills and using alternative or supplementary communication methods.

Family members often participate in the therapy process and function as communication partners of the person with aphasia.

Aphasia and Stroke

Stroke is the most common cause of aphasia in the UK.

Approximately 150,000 people suffer strokes each year, and 50,000 of stroke victims develop some type of aphasia.

About half of the people who show signs of aphasia experience temporary or transient aphasia and recover completely within a short time.

An estimated 250,000 people in the UK suffer from permanent aphasia.

Stroke & Brain Injury

Medical Condition Explained

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A stroke occurs when there is a disturbance of the blood supply to the brain. When the blood supply is cut off to an area of the brain this leads to the death of that part of the brain. Whatever part of the body that part of the brain controlled, it can no longer do so.

Aphasia is mostly caused by a cerebral vascular accident (CVA), so called stroke. This can be as a result of an embolus, thrombosis or haemorrhage. The latter is a burst artery with blood pouring into the brain. While an embolus is a blood clot that has formed on the inside of the heart or the inside of an artery, braking loose and travelling in the blood until it 'jams' in a small artery. The narrowing of an artery by deposits of fat is a thrombosis.

Aphasia can also develop after a person sustains a brain injury from head trauma such as traffic or sports accident, or in street violence, or brain tumor, or an infection, such as herpes encephalitis, or disease.

Damage to the Brain

One or more language functions can be damaged

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Aphasia is caused by damage to the brain.

As a result of this injury, the pathways for language comprehension or production are disrupted or destroyed.

For most people, this means damage to the left hemisphere of the brain.

In approx. 95% of right-handed people, language centers are in the left hemisphere, and up to 70% of left-handed people also have left-hemisphere language dominance.

Aphasia Prognosis & Therapy

Geraldine Wotton explains..

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The outcome of aphasia therapy is difficult to predict. The extent of the stroke, the part of the brain damaged, health factors, the individuals emotional wellbeing and the presence of supportive others are the best indicators for long-term outcome.

There is a period of spontaneous recovery i.e. where as a natural result of the brain healing and a revival of the individuals health some language and speech returns without therapeutic assistance.

However Speech & Language Therapy (SaLT) should begin as soon as possible. This must be under taken by a skilled and experienced therapist either from the NHS or via the Independent sector. It is important that clients and their families ask about the therapists qualifications and experience.

At the first few meetings the therapist will undertake an assessment formally or informally.

This assessment will offer the individual insights into his or her needs, some idea as to their long term potential and the best therapeutic approach or intervention.

Where therapy is recommended it will differ according to the needs of the individual. However it is vital that the client and their family/carers feel an integral part of the process. They must ask questions about the aims and objectives of the therapy on offer and carers/partners should always be actively included.

  • Aphasia therapy does work, the extent of its success however depend upon the above variables.

    So please ensure you are given access to a speech and language therapist for assessment at least.

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