In June of 2008, Congress declared June National Aphasia Awareness Month! According to the National Aphasia Association, about 1 million Americans are affected by Aphasia; it is more common than Parkinson's Disease, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. More than 100,000 Americans acquire the disorder each year. However, most people have never heard of aphasia. Aphasia as an acquired communication disorder that impairs a person's ability to process language, but does not affect intelligence. Aphasia impairs the ability to speak and understand others, and most people with aphasia experience difficulty reading and writing.
What causes aphasia? According to MedlinePlus aphasia is most common in adults who have had a stroke, but brain tumors, infections, injuries and dementia can also cause it.
What are the symptoms of Aphasia? According to the Mayo Clinic people with aphasia may speak in short, incomplete sentences, their words may not make sense, they may not comprehend normal conversation.
There are three types of aphasia, expressive, receptive and global. See the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association for further information.
What is the prognosis for someone who is diagnosed with aphasia? The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke states that the outlook is difficult to predict; it is dependent on the patient's age, extent of brain damage and more.
There is hope for people affected by aphasia. The University of Michigan's program, UMAP first started its aphasia treatment program in 1947, offering speech and language therapy for veterans returning from World War II. For over 60 years, adults with language disorders resulting from stroke, brain injury, or brain tumor have come from around the globe to receive the highly individualized and intensive therapy offered at UMAP.
UMAP's dynamic speech and language therapy program consists of 28 hours of intensive intervention per week, including individual and group speech therapy, group music therapy, social and recreational activities and more.
For support for patients and caregivers, please see list of support groups listed on National Aphasia Association's website.