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Raising Awareness for a Stroke Side Effect

Updated: Wednesday, October 30 2013, 08:37 AM EDT
CINCINNATI (WKRC) -- Tuesday was World Stroke Awareness Day and hundreds in the Tri-State are speaking up about a serious side effect of stroke, which makes communication difficult. Medical reporter Liz Bonis voices their concerns in our Medical Edge.

There are a lot of ways to communicate these days and this group of friends with aphasia would like nothing more than for you to know that and what the word aphasia means. Dr. Gloriajean Wallace say "aphasia is a communication problem that affects reading and writing, and understanding, and one's ability to express themselves verbally." The group has been getting together for coffee and conversation now for years. Many such as Anita have had aphasia for quite awhile. For her it's been 24 years.

Doctor Wallace is a medical speech language pathologist. As an advocate for those with aphasia, she invited us to meet with this group on behalf of the American Heart Association, which is celebrating stroke awareness this month.

We are here because the group wants us to know a couple things about aphasia. What my understanding is, the most important thing is that you understand everything that what we are saying to you, that you need time to communicate, and some other tools.

Those tools include everything from computer voice technology, to simple written words, that allow them to talk back when they can't quite find the words.

Mostly however, as we all do, they just want to be heard. "If a person has difficulty walking we have all kinds of accomodations, we have ramps we have wheelchairs, we have canes, we have walkers but there is no communication ramps, so I want us to make communication ramps, I want us to be good communication partners," says Dr. Wallace.

That partnership starts with listening, giving those with aphasia ample time to talk and if necessary repeating things back.

For information about an aphasia support group, click here.Raising Awareness for a Stroke Side Effect

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