Half of adults have never heard of aphasia which affects 350,000 stroke survivors

MORE than half of adults have never heard of aphasia – although it affects more than a third of stroke survivors.

It is a language and communication disorder that profoundly affects a person’s ability to speak, read, write and/or use numbers.

Research shows that more than half of Brits have never heard of aphasia


Research shows that more than half of Brits have never heard of aphasiaPhoto credit: Getty

With 1.3 million stroke survivors in the UK, this means that 350,000 experience post-stroke aphasia.

However, a survey of 2,000 adults found that 54 percent have never heard of it, while half of those surveyed don’t know what it actually is.

It also found that 72 percent of adults would not feel confident recognizing the effects of aphasia.

And even of those who thought it was possible, 60 percent were unable to identify any of the most common symptoms.

Juliet Bouverie OBE, executive director of the Stroke Association, who also produced a documentary, As the words disappearedsaid, “Aphasia is very common, affecting more than a third of stroke survivors.”

“It is therefore disheartening to see such low levels of awareness and knowledge of aphasia among the general public.

“Most of us cannot imagine living with aphasia, but it makes everyday tasks like getting on the bus or talking to a friend daunting, which is fueled by the misconception that people with aphasia lack intelligence gets worse.”

“This can often lead to anxiety and depression, feelings of exclusion from society, and difficulties in personal relationships.”

The study also found that 71 percent of adults think the ability to speak or communicate well is a sign of intelligence, which can present major barriers for people with aphasia.

And 20 percent admit that if they met someone who had trouble communicating, they would assume that person had learning disabilities.

While 28 percent were willing to judge people too quickly when they realize they are having trouble communicating.

But only four percent feel very confident communicating with someone with aphasia.

The biggest aphasia myths debunked

“It’s a rare disease”

Aphasia affects more than 350,000 people in the UK.

“It only affects older people”

One in four stroke survivors is of working age.

“It affects a person’s intelligence”

People with aphasia know exactly what they want to say, but they may have trouble finding the right words or getting the words out. It can change the way someone communicates, NOT their intelligence.

“Aphasia Causes Memory Loss”

Aphasia from stroke does not cause memory loss. However, it can also be due to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s, which impair a person’s memory.

“People with aphasia cannot recover”

Although there is no cure for aphasia, many have made progress in their ability to speak, read and write and understand numbers – and regain a sense of independence. However, raising awareness and being kind, patient and inclusive to people – along with therapy and broader support – will have a huge impact on helping people live their lives.

Other misconceptions surrounding aphasia include that 22 percent of respondents believe aphasia only affects a person’s ability to speak, while one in 10 respondents incorrectly believe the disorder cannot improve.

However, 73 percent said they would be deeply frustrated if they found it difficult to understand written or spoken language, speak letters and numbers, read or write.

More than half (54 percent) would feel isolated, 43 percent would feel ashamed and 38 percent would feel a loss of their identity.

To further raise awareness of aphasia, 51 percent of people surveyed about OnePoll would like more exposure in the news, while 37 percent think affected celebrities speaking out about it could raise their profile.

Juliet added, “We encourage everyone to watch our new documentary, featuring stories from three inspirational stroke survivors suffering from aphasia, so the public can better understand the condition and become an ally of those affected.”

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“Together we can help make life a little bit easier for people with aphasia and give them support and an important reminder that there is hope.”

“Aphasia can and does get better, and with the right help, people with aphasia can lead normal lives.”


1. Ask

Face the person when you speak to them.

Speak slowly and clearly and keep sentences short.

Ask them what helps – this could be drawing or gestures, for example.

2. Wait

Wait for her answer without interrupting.

If they seem confused, try repeating your sentence or simply rephrasing it.

You could try writing down key words or making important gestures or drawings.

3. Listen

Check that yes/no answers are reliable as answers can be confused.

A simple thumbs up or down might help.

Don’t pretend you understand if you don’t.

Write down the options “Yes”, “No” and “I don’t understand” so that they can find the correct answer.

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing russellfalcon@ustimespost.com.

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