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About aphasia

Aphasia is a communication disability which occurs when the communication centres of the brain are damaged. It is usually caused by stroke, but can also be caused by brain haemorrhage, head injury or tumours.

What does having aphasia mean?

Each person with aphasia experiences it differently. Some people cannot speak at all; some people have just a few words. Others can no longer read, write or use numbers.

Everyday activities such as having a conversation, answering the phone, watching television, may suddenly become a source of profound frustration and anxiety both for the person with aphasia and for their families, friends and carers.

How many people have aphasia?

Aphasia is more common than you would think. Every 11 minutes three people in the UK have a stroke. About a third of those people will have aphasia. In addition there are people who have aphasia through brain injury or tumour. So you may not have heard of aphasia but you probably know someone who has it – perhaps a relative or a friend.

Types of aphasia

If you or a relative has got aphasia, you may have been told you have a special type of aphasia. This is dependent on which communication centres of the brain are damaged. For example, Broca's Aphasia is when a person speaks with short sentences that make sense but require great effort.

Wernicke’s aphasia is when a person speaks in long sentences that may not have meaning or may even make up words.

Global aphasia is when the aphasia is very severe.

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