What is aphasia, who does it affect, and why is it so frustrating and isolating? Is it prevalent in Singapore? How does a person with aphasia recover?
Here are 10 basic facts about the condition and what’s essential in the recovery process:
- Aphasia is a language disorder that occurs after a brain injury.
- The most common cause of brain injury is stroke. Other causes include head trauma or brain tumour.
- Persons with aphasia (PWA) may have difficulty speaking, understanding others, writing and reading. Some also has difficulty with numbers.
- Aphasia does not affect intellect.
- Aphasia affects every individual differently.
- Aphasia can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, nationality or profession.
- 1/3 of all stroke survivors suffer from aphasia.
- Over 7,700 adults suffer from stroke every year in Singapore.1
- It is estimated that more than 2,500 individuals are diagnosed with aphasia in Singapore annually.
- 93% of PWA suffer from psychological distress2 and depression as a result of loss of independence and social isolation within the first 6 months of their stroke.
- Aphasia has greater negative impact on a person’s quality of life compared to cancer or dementia.3
- There is no cure for aphasia but speech therapy can aid a person’s recovery.
- Having a network of social support including family, friends and colleagues who are encouraging and understanding is vital to the healing process.
- Use gestures, writing or drawing to support conversation with a PWA.
- Be patient when communicating with someone with aphasia.
- According to the Singapore Stroke Registry (2017).
- Hilari, K., Northcott, S., Roy, P., Marshall, J., Wiggins, R. D., Chataway, J. and Ames, D. (2010). Psychological distress after stroke and aphasia: the first six months. Clinical Rehabilitation, 24(2), pp. 181-190.
- Lam, J.M.C & Wodchis, W.P. (2010) The relationship of 60 disease diagnoses and 15 conditions to preference-based health related quality of life in Ontario hospital based long-term care residents. Medical Care, 48, 380-387.
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