On this page:
What is aphasia?
What is the difference between aphasia and dysphasia?
What are the effects of aphasia?
Communication support tools
Find out more

To support Aphasia Awareness Month 2023, we released a documentary film about aphasia. The film follows a group of stroke survivors with aphasia as they embark on a journey to find their voice and rebuild their lives. Watch the film: When the Words Away Went.

What is aphasia?

Aphasia is one of three main communication problems that can be caused by stroke.

Aphasia is a complex language and communication disorder 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. 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.

What is the difference between aphasia and dysphasia?

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 language. The 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)

  • Understanding speech (receptive aphasia)

  • Reading

  • Writing

  • Using numbers

  • Dealing with money

  • Telling the time.

Aphasia will affect people in different ways and no two people will have exactly the same difficulties.

It doesn't affect intelligence, as people with aphasia still think in the same way but are unable to communicate their thoughts easily. This can be hard to understand, we've created a video to explain it further.

Communication support tools

Our accessible communication support tools help support you with communication difficulties at home and in the community.

You'll also be able to order a free Communication Support Pack to your home from Friday 26 May.

Find out more

Explore all communication problems after stroke, including how stroke affects communication and how to have good conversations.