The National Aphasia Association (NAA) defines 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 language; individuals with aphasia can also experience difficulty with reading and writing. An estimated one million Americans or about 1 in 250 people are affected by aphasia with more than 100,000 Americans acquiring the disorder every year across all ages, races, nationalities, and gender.
There are many types of aphasia. Some individuals may have difficulty speaking while others may struggle to follow a conversation. In some instances the aphasia may be so mild that one might not even notice it right away. In other cases the aphasia can be very severe and affect an individual’s ability to speak, write, read, and listen. The specific symptoms of aphasia can vary greatly but all individuals with aphasia have difficulties in communicating in common. Some individuals with aphasia may choose to use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). AAC includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. Resources on AAC technology, devices, and equipment are available through AbleData’s website. Aphasia may be considered an “invisible disability” since there may be no outward or visible sign of the condition.
In recognition of Aphasia Awareness Month the Aphasia Center of California in Oakland, CA has produced the Awareness Month 2012 poster centered on the theme “The Power of Aphasia Groups: The Equation for Living Successfully with Aphasia.” For more information on Aphasia Awareness Month events please visit www.aphasia.org/Awareness_Events_2012.html. For additional resources and publication available from the NAA please visit www.aphasia.org.
Also check out our free publication reSearch related to invisible disabilities and aphasia!