Aphasia is NOT a plant

A small plant held by a pair of hands

Over the last several months I’ve had a chance to spend a lot of time discussing the topic of aphasia rehabilitation with speech and language therapists, people with aphasia, and their caregivers.

While talking with Dr. Audrey Holland, one of the top experts in the field, she mentioned an interesting story:

The majority of people don’t know what aphasia is. A couple of years ago the SCALE Aphasia Center in Baltimore, MD installed planters across the street from their facility and then posted a large banner reading: “APHASIA IS NOT A PLANT”.

Although “Aphasia” may sound like a type of plant, indeed it is NOT! It is a language disorder caused by brain damage.

The most common cause of aphasia is stroke, but any kind of traumatic brain injury can result in aphasia. Any of the four modalities of language — speaking, listening, reading, and writing — can be affected by aphasia.

A few facts became obvious through my discussion with therapists, people with aphasia, and caregivers:

  • the majority of people with aphasia do not get sufficient speech therapy
  • intensive therapy helps, in a lot of cases, even after the initial few months post-stroke
  • people with aphasia are hugely underserved population
  • awareness of aphasia is very low

Each and every expert I’ve talked to was very compassionate about helping people affected with aphasia; however, they were also frustrated because of all the constraints in the health system (in the US), which limit the amount of therapy people with aphasia can get.

Our goal at Aphasia Corner is to leverage technology in order to:

  • make the rehabilitation process more accessible for people with aphasia
  • provide tools that will ease their communication and everyday life,
  • help raise awareness of aphasia

Aphasia Corner will be a commercial internet-based service and we plan to open it to the general public later this year.

Via this blog we would like to get in touch with people affected with aphasia, caregivers, and speech therapists. We plan to publish a couple of articles each month with interesting and relevant information about aphasia. We are working with top experts in the field of aphasia rehabilitation so you will have an opportunity to read their thoughts and ideas.

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