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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Overview of aphasia

Tirohanga whānui ki te mate whakangū

Two men use expression, writing and drawing to communicateAphasia (pronounced a-fay-zee-a) is a language disorder.

There are many different types of aphasia. It affects your ability to communicate with others.

If you have aphasia, you may find it hard to:

It can be hard to understand messages and get your messages out.

You know what you think and how you feel, but you may find it hard to describe this with words. Your hearing and vision are not affected.

Causes of aphasia

Aphasia is caused by damage to the language centre of the brain. This is usually in the left side of the brain.

You may have had:

Being understood with aphasia

Communication is interacting with another person, having a conversation and sharing your thoughts, wants, needs, opinions and ideas.

We need to communicate to make and sustain relationships and take part in life activities.

If you have aphasia, you can communicate in multiple ways. For example, you can:

Ask people to give you time to say what you want to say.

Your speech-language therapist can offer more specific ways to help you communicate.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Helping someone with aphasia communicate

Written by speech-language therapists, Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand Waitaha Canterbury. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2023.


See also:

Brain injury & concussion

Communication strategies

Page reference: 78064

Review key: HISCD-79694