Aphasia can be frightening and frustrating – both for the person who has it and those around them. It is often mistaken for dementia and, indeed has some similarities. But many people with aphasia don't experience the behavioral issues associated with dementia. Their symptoms are primarily related to language, and sometimes cognition.
Aphasia is most often triggered by stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack, or mini-stroke), but it can be caused by any disease or damage to the parts of the brain that control language, such as brain injury, tumors or neurological disorders. Symptoms vary, but can include:
In many (but not all) cases, the person with aphasia can comprehend what they are trying to communicate or what's being communicated to them, they just can't get the words right, leading to exasperation and, eventually, possible isolation.
If you are trying to communicate with someone with aphasia, here are a few things to keep in mind, according to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association:
One of the most important things is to keep the person engaged to avoid the risk of isolation or loneliness.
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