What is aphasia?

June 28, 2013

By Annie Sanford, RN, BSN
Stroke Clinical Effectiveness Coordinator

Stroke patients often suffer from communication challenges called aphasia. Aphasia is complex and there are many potential communication challenges including, but not limited to:

  • Trouble speaking – this may be displayed as hesitancy or stuttering, use of words that seem out of context, or the inability to speak at all (mute)
  • Trouble finding words – inability to put thoughts into words
  • Problems understanding what others say
  • Problems with reading, writing, or math
  • Inability to process long words and infrequently used words

This is often frustrating for the patient and their care partners. It is important to remember that aphasia is related to the ability to communicate and does not reflect a change in intelligence.

There are several great resources for patients living with aphasia and their care partners:

  • There is valuable information and resources provided on the National Aphasia Association website including communication tools, education, and access to aphasia support groups.
  • There are several inspirational and educational videos available from the National Aphasia Association on their YouTube channel.
  • The American Stroke Association also has resources available on their website including this handy flier that you can print out.