Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Who has heard of "Aphasia"?

It is amazing how many phone calls I receive with people saying "I had never heard of aphasia until my husband (or wife, sister, brother, mother, etc.) was diagnosed with it".  The truth is you don't hear the word "aphasia"  in the newspaper or in the news or in everyday conversation.  This is unfortunate.  Aphasia affects approximately 1 million Americans and is more prevalent than Parkinson's Disease, Cerebral Palsy or Muscular Dystrophy. Yet, most people know about those diseases.  Why is "aphasia" so not known??  My husband showed me an article in the Fortune magazine yesterday about a very successful businessman who had a stroke.  It told how the stroke affected his right side of his body and that he couldn't get his words out anymore.  It told what a difficult time he had communicating verbally and the struggles he went through during his recovery.  But not once did the word  "aphasia" occur in the entire article.

Another example is Senator Giffords who suffered a gunshot wound to the head earlier this year.  Her horrible story was all over the news for months, following her progress step by step.  Although she had all the symptoms of aphasia described in the newspaper articles and on the news, again I never heard the mention of "aphasia". 

This is why no one has heard of aphasia.  I wish I knew why the media stays clear of the word.  It would be helpful to others if it were discussed more so people could learn about it before it affected their lives.  Keep your eyes and ears open for aphasia in the media.  I would love to hear back if anyone sees or hears of it.