Aphasia Association of New Zealand giving a voice to people with aphasia
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About Aphasia

Aphasia literally means ‘absence of speech’.

Aphasia is the term used to describe the loss of a previously held ability to express or understand spoken or written language, due to disease or injury to the language area of the brain.

The ability to use gestures and numbers can also be affected.

The experience of aphasia is different for each person.

Aphasia can vary from mild difficulties finding words, or reading text, to severe difficulties understanding what other people are saying, and being unable to speak.

It is important to know that aphasia is notloss of intelligence.

Aphasia can affect people of any age.

Aphasia affects not only the person with aphasia, but also their families and friends, and people in their community.

Other people can either help or hinder the person with aphasia depending on how they react and what support they offer.

Aphasia Facts

  • There are at least seventeen thousand (17,000) New Zealanders currently living with stroke-acquired aphasiaThe actual figure is probably closer to 20,000.
  • Strokes are the highest cause of aphasia in New Zealand.
  • Every day, as a result of a stroke, six or seven people in New Zealand will develop aphasia.
  • Head injury is the second most common cause of aphasia.
  • Aphasia can also be acquired because of a brain tumour or brain disease.
  • PPA (Primary Progressive Aphasia) is another type of aphasia.  The Ministry of Health estimates up to 20% of all dementia cases in New Zealand may be PPA.
  • The true number of people affected by aphasia in New Zealand is unknown, is but estimated to be in the tens of thousands.

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