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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Distilo-Shannon

What is Aphasia?

The ability to communicate our wants, needs, thoughts and feelings is a basic human need. Without an effective means of communication, it is next to impossible to connect with others. This can lead to feelings of frustration, isolation, sadness or anxiety. This is how my past patents have described what living with Aphasia is like. So, What is Aphasia? According to The American Speech Language and Hearing Association (

"Aphasia is a language disorder that affects how you communicate. It is caused by damage to the language centers of the brain, usually the left side of the brain, that controls understanding, speaking, and using signed languages." Aphasia does not mean that a person is less intelligent, it impacts the way a person expresses and understands language. Aphasia affects people differently, and no two cases are the same. It is important to start treatment as early as possible, for the best results. Similar to the affects of Aphasia on an individual, recovery is also different from person to person. I have urged my patients and their families not to compare themselves to others. You are your own measure of comparison, focus on what your specific goals are.

It is important to reflect on where you were and where you are now in your communication, and look forward to achieving your next set of goals. Your Speech Therapist is an important member of your team in helping set achievable goals, and with therapy, support from family and friends, meeting those goals. For more information on Aphasia or for additional resources please visit and type "Aphasia" in the search bar. For questions regarding Aphasia Evaluation and Treatment or to schedule an evaluation, please contact Joanna D. Shannon, CCC-MSLP at 412.589.9758.

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