Aphasia affects one in three stroke survivors

By June Shannon Stroke News   |   1st Apr 2022

News that actor Bruce Willis has retired due to a diagnosis of aphasia has put a spotlight on the widely misunderstood and little-known condition.

Aphasia is an acquired language disorder which affects approximately a third of all stroke survivors. Aphasia can also be caused by any type of brain injury, brain tumour, or neurological condition such as dementia.

Despite the relatively high prevalence of aphasia post stroke (1 in 3 ), research has shown that there is a very low level of awareness and understanding of the condition among the general public.

Aphasia predominately affects people’s ability to communicate as it causes difficulty with reading, writing, spelling, comprehension and expression or ability to speak.

Aphasia can affect a person’s ability to understand what they read or hear, or to express themselves in spoken or written words. It does not affect their intelligence.

Studies have shown that people with aphasia post stroke are at a much higher risk of developing depression and low mood than stroke survivors without the condition.

Studies have shown that people with aphasia post stroke are at a much higher risk of developing depression and low mood than stroke survivors without the condition.

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Like a number of side effects of stroke aphasia is a hidden disorder and speech and language therapy can help.

The Aphasia Café in University College Cork (UCC)  is a ground-breaking initiative of Dr Helen Kelly and her Speech and Language Therapy students (UCC Clinical Therapies Society) that supports people living with language difficulties following a stroke or other brain injury.

The group runs Ireland’s first Aphasia Home Café with is a safe space online for people with aphasia and other communication difficulties to socialise, support conversation and share tips to communicate.

Here are some tips for communicating with someone with aphasia from the Aphasia Café.

For more information on stroke and the supports available please see here.

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