Aphasia: A Hidden Disability

Most often caused by stroke, aphasia is a communication disability that occurs when the language centers of the brain are damaged. Aphasia may also be the result of brain surgery, brain infections, traumatic brain injuries or other neurological diseases, including dementia. 

Aphasia is a hidden disability often with no visual sign of occurrence. An estimated 80,000 new cases of aphasia are diagnosed in the United States each year and approximately 1 million people suffer from aphasia in the United States today.

Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder that may be mild or severe. It impairs a person’s ability to process language and/or express language in the areas of listening, reading, speaking and/or writing. Impaired memory and executive function skills, such as the ability to manage time and attention, to remember details, and other cognitive deficits may co-exist in a person with aphasia, but aphasia does not impair intelligence. Sensory deficits also may be present.  

The outcome of aphasia is difficult to predict and usually is dependent upon initial severity scores of the language impairment and the size and location of the brain damage.

At Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, speech language pathologists work with patients and their families to identify techniques to maximize communication for successful participation at home, work and in the community.  Therapy may include working on language skills, using computer-based programs, integrating the use of low- and high-tech communication devices as well as conversation training and modeling.

Once patients have completed an individualized skilled rehabilitation program in speech therapy, they are offered an opportunity to participate in a weekly communication skills group. The group is led by a dynamic and energetic speech language pathologist who facilitates ongoing education and participation.

To learn more about Good Shepherd’s Department of Speech and Communication or to schedule an appointment, call 610-776-3270 or request an appointment online. 

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