U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ recovery following her shooting in 2011 put a national spotlight on aphasia, a disorder that can accompany traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke or a brain tumor.
In fact, Giffords this fall will receive the 2012 Annie Glenn Award for building awareness of communications disorders. She will be given the award at the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association convention in Atlanta, according to The Missoulian.
The Missoulian last week did a story explaining what aphasia is, and did a good job of it. The author described it as an “acquired” communication disorder that more than 100,000 people a year get, and it is apparently more common than cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.
Aphasia is brought on by damage to the part of the brain that processes language, according to The Missoulian. Giffords, of course, was shot in the head. With aphasia, a person’s intellect may not be affected, but they will have difficulty with tasks such as speaking, understanding speech, reading and writing.
There are many kinds of aphasia, according to The Missoulian. Some people may have a hard time speaking. Others may have difficulty understanding speech. Some people may even end up needing devices such as iPads to communicate, The Missoulian wrote.
Those with aphasia need to be evaluated by a speech language pathologist, who will devise a course of treatment.
Last month was National Aphasia Awareness Month, with the goal of building awareness of this malady.