South Florida Baptist Hospital raises awareness of aphasia, a language disorder

Posted at 3:22 PM, Jun 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-26 02:11:16-04

In case you didn't know, this is National Aphasia Awareness Month.

Officials at South Florida Baptist Hospital in Plant City are highlighting the importance of recognizing someone living with the language disorder.

Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the U.S. A stroke can have various communication effects, one of which is aphasia.

Stroke is the most common cause of aphasia, which is a language disorder that affects the ability to communicate.

June is National Aphasia Awareness Month, which is a national campaign to increase public education around the language disorder and to recognize the numerous people who are living with or caring for people with aphasia.

In an interview with ABC Action News anchor Lauren St. Germain, speech pathologist Jennifer Ackett explained how best to communicate with someone living with aphasia.

What can I do to communicate better with the person with aphasia?

  •     Get the person's attention before you start speaking.
  •     Maintain eye contact and watch the person’s body language and use of gesture.
  •     Minimize or eliminate background noise (TV, radio, other people).
  •     Keep your voice at a normal level. Do not speak loudly unless the person asks you to do so.
  •     Keep communication simple, but adult. Don't "talk down" to the person with aphasia.
  •     Simplify your sentence structure and emphasize key words.
  •     Reduce your rate of speech.
  •     Give the individual time to speak. Resist the urge to finish sentences or offer words.
  •     Communicate with drawings, gestures, writing, and facial expressions in addition to speech.
  •     Encourage the person to use drawings, gestures, and writing.
  •     Use "yes" and "no" questions rather than open-ended questions.
  •     Praise all attempts to speak and downplay any errors. Avoid insisting that that each word be produced perfectly.
  •     Engage in normal activities whenever possible.
  •     Encourage independence and avoid being overprotective.

Also, South Florida Baptist Hospital is introducing a free Aphasia Support Group. It is held between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. on the last Thursday of every month.

South Florida Baptist Hospital
Community Conference Room
301 N. Alexander St.
Plant City FL 33563
Call (813) 707-2123 to register or for more information.