Stroke – Aphasia

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a sudden loss of brain function. It is caused by the interruption of blood flow to the brain causing brain cells in the affected area to die. The effects of a stroke depend on where the brain was injured, as well as how much damage occurred.

What is aphasia?

Storke - Aphasia“Aphasia” means a loss of language ability, often due to a stroke. Aphasia does not affect intelligence. When someone has aphasia, it’s like being picked up and dropped in a country where you don’t speak the language – you are just as smart, you simply can’t communicate.

Did hlja eioj fjafeiqh a little webh iae fa?

You have just experienced an aphasic moment!

Aphasia can affect comprehension (how we understand when listening or reading), expression (how we speak or write) or both. Difficulties can range from mild (e.g., trouble thinking of the right words or understanding abstract language) to severe (e.g., unable to say any words or understand even single words that are written down).

How can a speech-language pathologist help?

Speech-language pathologists can assess an individual’s specific language impairments and then develop strategies and communication exercises to improve those language areas. Research shows that people who receive speech therapy improve by 175% to 1200% over natural recovery alone! Improvement can occur for many years after a stroke, although the sooner you start treatment (preferably within 3 months), the more gains will be made.

How can someone communicate effectively with an individual who has aphasia?

  • Speak in a tone of voice appropriate for communicating with an adult
  • Communicate one idea at a time
  • Write down key words
  • Use gestures and drawing
  • Use objects from the environment
  • Use yes/no questions or provide written choices