SAC Profiles: Living with Aphasia

Aphasia is a communication disorder that results when one or more areas of the brain that control language are damaged. It does not impair intelligence. The most common cause of aphasia is stroke however, some people have a progressive disorder called primary progressive aphasia (PPA). People with aphasia may have difficulties talking, listening, reading and writing.

Over 100,000 Canadians live with aphasia, yet the disorder is not widely known. Speech-language pathologists and communication health assistants work with people with aphasia to develop strategies to help them communicate. This support may be provided through individual and/or group sessions.

To help raise public awareness about aphasia and the importance of speech-language pathology services in assisting individuals with aphasia, Speech-Language & Audiology (SAC) has partnered with the Aphasia Centre of Ottawa to profile four clients of the Centre.

Speech-Language & Audiology Canada would like to thank the Aphasia Centre of Ottawa for the opportunity to speak with some of their clients about their experience living with aphasia.

Christina was diagnosed with aphasia following a stroke 10 years ago. Originally from Germany, she lived all over the world before settling in Canada. A mother and grandmother, Christina was a healthy active person prior to her stroke and enjoyed working as a tour guide. “Then suddenly there was the stroke and everything was gone.” Click here to learn more about Christina.
Joan was diagnosed with aphasia following a stroke 3 years ago. The mother of two adult children had just returned home from a church event when her husband noticed a change in her speech and took her to hospital. Prior to her stroke Joan liked to be out doing activities, whether shopping for gifts for her godchildren or volunteering with her church. Now she describes herself as a homebody who focuses on solitary hobbies like painting. Click here to learn more about Joan.
Mark began noticing symptoms of aphasia about 4 years ago. He has lost his ability to read and write and has recently started working with the Aphasia Centre of Ottawa. A historian by profession, aphasia has had a profound impact on Mark’s day-to-day life and he worries about whether he will experience more changes in his ability to communicate in the future. Click here to learn more about Mark.
Roberta lives with primary progressive aphasia which she says affects her ability to remember words.  Originally from New York, Roberta worked as a high school art teacher in the US and Canada. She describes her experience with primary progressive aphasia as a gradual progression from struggling to recall a person’s name to the point where a new doctor requested she bring her husband in for a consultation and ordered further testing. Click here to learn more about Roberta.

Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC) is the premier national association in Canada for speech-language pathology and audiology representing over 6,500 speech-language pathologists (S-LPs), audiologists and communication health assistants across Canada. SAC also champions the needs of people with communication, swallowing, hearing and balance disorders. As the largest association of its kind in Canada, SAC advocates for communication as a basic human right and the need for appropriate access to speech-language and audiology services across Canada. Click here for more information on how to find a speech-language pathologist or audiologist in your community.