The Canadian Stroke Congress has a released a first of its kind survey regarding a little known impairment associated with stroked called aphasia. Aphasia occurs in stroke victims and affects their ability to communicate. Sometimes they are unable to speak or understand speech. Sometimes they are unable to read or write. The biggest problem however, is that it is a silent condition that many people are unaware of.
Volunteers from the York-Durham Aphasia Centre surveyed 832 adults in southern Ontario, Canada. They found that only 2% of those survey could correctly define aphasia as a communication disorder associated with stroke. 89% of the respondents had heard of the word stroke and 32% of the respondents replied that they had heard of aphasia. Unfortunately, they just weren’t correct in defining aphasia. The team that did the survey recommended a national campaign to promote awareness of aphasia. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s press release, Elizabeth Rochon, co-author of the survey and Associate Professor of Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Toronto says,”The public isn’t familiar with communication problems, so they often mistake aphasia for intellectual impairment. The lack of awareness is devastating to people with aphasia and their families.”
The study also suggests that physicians be more aware of people affected aphasia and help them get the resources they need to deal with the impairment. This assistance could be in the form of “speech-language therapy, knowledge of supportive communication strategies, as well as long-term programs and services available.” As many as one-third of stroke victims are living with this silent impairment, yet it is largely unnoticed in the general public. Hopefully, these public information campaigns will lead to better treatment for those dealing with it.