Hello everyone and welcome to #2 in the Aphasia Myths blog.
Today I’d like to talk about isolation and aphasia. This is a relevant topic for discussion because there are relatively few aphasia support groups and limited information readily available for caregivers and persons with aphasia. Many people with aphasia are not aware that there are aphasia support groups, or that there is an organization called the National Aphasia Association (NAA)(www.aphasia.org). According to the NAA, approximately 40% of persons with aphasia have no contact with other persons with aphasia. Considering the frequent social and other losses that come when someone gets aphasia, this number is staggering! Imagine having a disorder that robs you of your ability to communicate, that you receive little information about this disorder and your prognosis, and that you can no longer work and relate effectively to others. Then imagine that you don’t know that there are others out there like you–that there are others who can provide hope, give advice, provide cameraderie, and have “been there”. We, as clinicians and physicians, need to make a greater effort to reach out to those with aphasia.
If you have aphasia, you are one of over one million folks in the U.S.! There are people all over the world with aphasia! Some of them have better communication than you do, some of them do not. Some of them are in wheelchairs, some walk with canes, some walk without any assistance. Some persons with aphasia have severe difficulties with their arms and legs, some do not. Persons with aphasia are young and old, all nationalities, all education levels, all careers, and may have different causes. I encourage you to make the effort to find others with aphasia–you’ll be glad that you did. If you join a group and you don’t like that group–make your own or find another group. You can find organizations online at the NAA website, or do a search for “aphasia support groups” and your location. Whatever your choice, get involved in your life!