- New to aphasia?
If you’ve just been diagnosed with aphasia, you’re probably quite confused and maybe a bit scared by all the information you’re getting. If it helps, do some reading, chat to your doctors or therapists. Even have a poke around the Internet, but don’t believe a word you read.
If you’ve had a TIA there’s every chance you’ll return to your old self within a day or two. People do have lingering effects from a TIA and you should be talking to a doctor about that.
People who’ve had a stroke can take much longer and may not ever get back all their language, but with work most people can get to a more comfortable and stable place.
People with head injuries and other conditions are going to be different in every case, and should find out more from their therapists.
The one thing that everyone should do is to keep communicating with your friends and family. Whatever it takes, writing, drawing, shouting, swearing, it’s crucial that you keep your communication up and your relationships strong. Whatever happens next, you’re going to need people around you.
When the dust settles, see if there’s a local group that specialises in aphasia, and failing that a communication group for people who’ve had a stroke. There are links on our website to organisations that might help. If you’re near enough we’d love to see you.
The main thing is to carry on and do as much as you can, in as normal a way as you can. Don’t worry. You’ve got this.
- What is Aphasia
Aphasia is also known as dysphasia. It’s a problem with some or all aspects of communication that can follow a stroke or other brain injury. Everyone experiences aphasia differently, and the range of problems you get will be unique to you. Problems with word-finding and building sentences are common. Other things that can be affected are counting and number, reading, writing, comprehension, memory, attention. The list goes on. Some people’s aphasia is progressive (with Alzheimer’s or MS for example) which means it’s going to get worse over time as the disease takes hold. Most people will find that with expertise, the right technology and a lot of hard work their aphasia can improve to some degree and finding techniques to manage and accept what you can’t change will make your life so much easier.
- Caring for someone with aphasia
If a family member or friend develops aphasia, it’s hugely important to let them know that you know that you’re taking it seriously and you’ll do whatever they need to help with their communication. It’s also going to help if you assure them you still see them as the same person – not their condition. Aphasia does NOT affect people intelligence (although it often comes with a host of other symptoms). They might be feeling insecure and isolated. Knowing you’re still there for them and treat them like the same person you always knew is going to help them to regain their lost
There are lots of things you can do to support people with aphasia to communicate better. If you want to have some training please contact us, there may be a Speakeasy course that you could attend. However, there are a few simple things that will make it much easier:-
How to help someone with aphasia?
Slow down and don’t rush
Say one thing at a time
Shut out background noise
Don’t fill in words unless you are asked to help out
Use pen and paper for drawing and writing
Check that you both understand the conversation
Use any way possible to communicate
Think about technology, iPads, email, WhatsApp, FaceBook are all useful to people