What is Aphasia?


Aphasia is a disorder caused by damage to the areas of the brain that control language. People with aphasia know what they want to say but cannot find the words to say it.

It is most often a result of stroke, but it can also affect people with brain tumors, infections, head injuries, or dementia. Aphasia is different from person to person, depending on which part of the brain is damaged. Aphasia does not affect intelligence – people with aphasia are competent adults.

Aphasia can affect any or all of the following:

  • Speaking
  • Understanding speech
  • Reading
  • Writing

Aphasia also differs in severity, with some people experiencing problems mainly with finding words and names, and other people experiencing severe difficulty with all aspects of communication.

Living with Aphasia

Speech-language therapy often greatly assists people in recovering with aphasia, but for many people, it is just one part of learning to live with aphasia. For people living with aphasia, ongoing recovery is enhanced if their communication partners understand aphasia and know how to use strategies to support better conversations.