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is a condition that decreases the ability to speak, read, write, or understand others. Aphasia can be a short-term or long-term problem.
Common signs and symptoms of aphasia:
Signs and symptoms depend on the area of the brain that was damaged:
- Trouble finding and speaking words, even for short phrases or in writing
- Speaking in long sentences that have no meaning
- Useless or made up words added to sentences
- Trouble understanding what others say, or trouble reading
- Not being able to express thoughts through speech or writing
may not be needed. Some people recover without treatment. Medicines or surgery may be needed to treat the brain injury. These treatments may also improve aphasia. Most people with aphasia need speech-language therapy. Speech-language therapy can help with exercises to improve communication. Ask for more information on aphasia exercises.
Contact a healthcare provider if:
- The person's communication problems are getting worse.
- The person is depressed because of communication problems.
- You have questions or concerns about the person's condition or care.
Help make communication easier:
- Help others understand how to communicate effectively. A speech-language therapist can help create a book that has pictures, words, or symbols to help with communication. Others may need to speak more slowly and clearly, or only write words. It may help to have a pen and pad of paper available at all times.
- Have extra time for listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Phone calls or conversations should be at times when it is easy to focus. Communication should never be rushed or done along with another task.
- Reduce distractions. If possible, turn off any TV, music, or other sound during conversations or reading. Background noise can make it more difficult to focus.
- Ask about technology. Software programs can be loaded onto computers that help with communication. Examples include software that types words as they are spoken, or that read text on the computer aloud. The speed can be slowed as needed to help with understanding spoken words. A speech-language therapist can help set up adaptive technology to help with written and spoken communication.
- Ask about medical alert identification. Medical alert jewelry or an identification card can help others understand the communication problems caused by aphasia. Ask a healthcare provider where to get medical alert identification. The jewelry or card should be carried at all times.
For support and more information:
- National Aphasia Association
350 Seventh Avenue
New York , NY 10001
Phone: 1- 800 - 922-4622
Web Address: http://www.aphasia.org
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2200 Research Boulevard
Rockville , MD 20850-3289
Phone: 1- 800 - 638-8255
Web Address: http://www.asha.org
Follow up with a speech therapist as directed:
The person may need to return for regular visits. The speech therapist can help make a treatment plan. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during the visits.
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