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Communicating Through Silence: Understanding Aphasia

  • disability,
  • traumatic brain injury,
  • Advocacy

Did you know June is Aphasia Awareness Month? Many don’t. In fact, the National Aphasia Association (NAA) found that nearly 85% of adults had never heard of the term aphasia before. 


Aphasia is a neurological disorder that often arises from a stroke or other brain injury. It affects regions of the brain involved in language processing and generation, causing difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, and understanding language. 

There are several different types of aphasia, but they generally fall into two categories: 


  1. Non-fluent Aphasia: Those affected have difficulty forming words and often speak in short, fragmented sentences. Despite knowing what they want to say, they encounter challenges expressing it. 
  2. Fluent Aphasia: Individuals with this type can form sentences that sound normal but might contain incorrect or made-up words. People with this condition often struggle to understand spoken or written language and speak in long sentences.


Given the integral role communication plays, the impacts of aphasia extend into every aspect of a person's life: 


  • Daily Communication: Aphasia can make ordinary conversations challenging. It can be a struggle to order food at a restaurant, explain symptoms to a doctor, express emotions to loved ones, or understand an email. 
  • Social Interaction: Because communication is so essential for social interaction, aphasia can lead to feelings of isolation and frustration. It might be challenging to keep up with conversations, tell stories, or understand jokes, leading to decreased social participation. 
  • Employment: A person with aphasia may have difficulty continuing their current employment. They might struggle to communicate effectively with colleagues, understand instructions, or perform tasks that require reading and writing. 
  • Emotional Well-being: The struggle to communicate and the impact on social interactions and employment can lead to depression, anxiety, and reduced self-esteem. Knowing what you want to say but not being able to express it can be frustrating and isolating. 


Research on treatments for aphasia is ongoing, but speech and language therapy is the most common approach. The therapy aims to restore speech and language as much as possible, improve overall communication abilities, and explore alternative means of communication. 


People with aphasia are as capable and insightful as they were before their injury - they just have trouble expressing and understanding language. They significantly benefit from the support, patience, and understanding of those around them. 


When communicating with someone with aphasia, it's important to follow these dos and don’ts  




Be patient 

Rush them for a response 

Use short, simple sentences 

Frequently change topics 

Utilize visual aids or write down key words 

Complete sentences for them 

Prompt them if they struggle to find a word 

Correct their errors 


At Scioto Properties, we recognize that accessibility goes beyond the physical environment; it encompasses social and emotional aspects as well. With this holistic approach, we strive to provide suitable housing solutions that cater to providers who serve individuals with disabilities, including those living with aphasia. Our homes are designed to meet residents' physical needs while fostering an environment of understanding, empathy, and communication. 


This Aphasia Awareness Month let's lend our voices to those struggling with their own. Together, we can foster an understanding and supportive environment where individuals with aphasia feel acknowledged, heard, and understood.