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Sadly, some neurological disorders have a nasty penchant for blocking those they afflict from expressing or understanding communication, leaving themselves and their loved ones feeling frustrated, confused, or isolated.

Aphasia, a disorder that impairs the ability to read, write, speak, or listen, came into the spotlight not long ago when the family of actor Bruce Willis announced he had been diagnosed with it. Better Hearing and Speech Month represents another opportunity to delve into this condition.

Aphasia is not a disease. Sudden, damage-inducing events to the brain such as a stroke or traumatic brain injury mark the leading causes of aphasia. In those cases, aphasia can be temporary depending on the location and severity of the brain damage.

“As the brain begins to heal, speech-language pathology can prove very beneficial to patients in improving their communication abilities and mitigating aphasia,” Erica Pirolli, a speech-language pathologist at Therafit Rehab, said. “We love seeing the smiles on our patients’ faces when they start finding the words they want to use much faster than they were able to soon after the brain was damaged.”

Aphasia has multiple types, each presenting different symptoms. Some types result from progressive diseases like dementia.

Officially, from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association:

Aphasia is a change in language because of a change in the brain and affects both understanding and expression. It can make it difficult to speak, write, listen, and read. The various types of aphasia depend on the different parts of the brain affected and the reason for the neural change. Aphasia is most often caused by a sudden event, like a stroke or traumatic brain injury. It is a language issue, so a person might experience challenges getting their thoughts and ideas across or understanding someone else’s words, but they’re still the same person they were before the diagnosis. Aphasia does not affect cognitive ability.

Therafit Rehab offers speech, physical, and occupational therapy, and for more than 15 years has specialized in treating neurological conditions and traumatic brain injuries. Pirolli highlighted three ways SLP could help those diagnosed with aphasia:

  1. Implement therapeutic tasks to increase expressive and receptive language skills.
  2. Give strategies to caregivers for most effectively communicating with their loved one with aphasia.
  3. Provide strategies for when you’re having trouble ‘finding the word’ for what you want to say.

If you think you or a loved one may have aphasia, click the button below to request a free consultation via phone or in one of our six clinics with one of our speech therapists. In many cases, aphasia is treatable, and patients are able to restore communication skills that initially declined due to brain damage.

It’s tough to envision Willis struggling to deliver some of police detective John McClane’s iconic lines in the “Die Hard” movie series. Here’s hoping he’s back on set soon.

As a healthcare provider, Therafit Rehab always will remain open to treat patients in-clinic, in-home, or via telehealth. Therapy and movement remain essential to boost immune systems and wellness in people with neurological conditions or traumatic injuries. Request a free 15-minute consultation with a therapist at therafitrehab.com/appointment or by calling your local Therafit Rehab.

Therafit Rehab locations include:

Baltimore/Cold Spring
1111 E. Cold Spring Ln.
Baltimore, MD 21239
443-961-3071

Towson
1220A E. Joppa Rd.
Suite 109
Towson, MD 21286
410-415-1992

Westminster
511 Jermor Ln.
Suite 102
Westminster, MD 21157
410-871-2494

Woodlawn
7210 Rutherford Rd.
Suite G
Baltimore, MD 21244
443-364-8182

Matawan
443 Highway 34
Unit J
Matawan, NJ 07747
732-955-9505

Middletown
1275 Highway 35
Unit 7
Middletown, NJ 07748
732-639-0068

About Therafit Rehab
Therafit Rehab is dedicated to providing specialized, activity-based therapy and fitness programs for children, adults, and seniors with disabilities to rehabilitate them and restore their quality of life. President and owner Gina Della founded Therafit Rehab in 2006 in the basement of her Westminster home. Initially providing care for her brother who suffered a traumatic brain injury and loss of mobility after being struck by a drunk driver in 2002, the company has since expanded to four locations in Maryland and two in New Jersey. Learn more about Therafit Rehab at therafitrehab.com and by following @therafitrehab on social media.