What is aphasia?

Aphasia is a complex disorder of language and communication resulting from damage to the language centres of the brain. This damage may be caused by:

  • a stroke
  • a head injury
  • a brain tumour
  • another neurological illness.

While stroke isn't the only cause of aphasia, it's by far the biggest single cause.  Around a third of people who have a stroke will experience aphasia. We estimate there are more than 350,000 people with aphasia in the UK.

Some people may refer to aphasia as dysphasia. Aphasia is the medical term for full loss of language, while dysphasia stands for partial loss of languageThe word aphasia is now commonly used to describe both conditions.

Effects of aphasia

If you have aphasia you may have difficulty with:

  • speaking (expressive aphasia)
  • reading
  • writing
  • understanding (receptive aphasia)
  • using numbers
  • dealing with money
  • telling the time.

Aphasia doesn't affect your intelligence. People with aphasia still think in the same way but are unable to communicate their thoughts easily.

Aphasia will affect people in different ways – no two people with aphasia have exactly the same difficulties.

Stroke Association and Speakability merger

In April 2015 we joined forces with national aphasia charity Speakability (Action for Dysphasic Adults) to ensure that more people across the UK living with aphasia receive vital support.

If you have any questions about the merger, please call Melanie Derbyshire on 020 7566 1516.