LIVING WITH APHASIA
We all grow up learning a language and how to communicate between each other. It’s a thing we all take for granted – until it’s not there anymore. It could be you or a loved one, and in a blink of an eye this sudden void could turn your life upside down in the most unexpected ways.
Aphasia is one of the most common communication disorders to affect the brain, and yet very little people know about it. Although there are no official figures, the Stroke Association estimates that for stroke survivors only, there are more than 376,000 in the UK living with aphasia*. Then add to this figure other potential affliction sources: brain tumour, car accident, dementia, and others… It’s a big deal for many people.
What if suddenly you lost the capacity to speak, write, or read, started to mix words, and found it difficult to count numbers? What if suddenly you were unable to communicate with your friends and family?…
Aphasia is a condition usually caused by a brain trauma that affects the ability to effectively communicate with others – and well as the capacity of making sense of some words within your own thoughts. Just as if the brain decided to permanently wipe out specific parts of its memory, leaving a big blank in the language zone – while preserving intelligence and other functions.
Without language, everyday activities can suddenly become an insurmontable struggle, thus a source of profound frustration and anxiety both for the sufferers of aphasia and their families, friends and carers. Without the proper care and therapy, people with aphasia can rapidly lose autonomy, independence, confidence & self-esteem.
Living with aphasia – as well as treating it – are complex challenges, as each individual with aphasia is affected in different ways, suffering from their own particular combination of symptoms & difficulties. Speaking, writing, reading, hearing, repeating, and even sign language can be dysfunctional in various degrees – often suddenly dramatically incapacitating normal life.
* Source: Statistics from NHS, 2015.