By: Jim Goodman
Aphasia is an impairment of a person’s ability to process language, but does not affect
intelligence. The causes are stroke, head injury, brain tumor or neurological conditions.
Aphasia will impair ability to speak and understand others and most people with Aphasia
experience difficulty reading and writing.
Who is Jim Goodman? I was born on December 3, 1942. Then in January 1980 (37 year old), I had a heart attack with a double by-pass surgery. In September 1992, I had another heart attack with a triple by-pass surgery. And in April 1995, another heart attack. And in December 1997, another heart attack. And in October 1999, my fifth heart attack with an angioplasty.
I had 5 heart attacks and I had “code blue” twice. I have vasovagal reflex with needle sticks.
In July 22, 2006, I had a major stroke (brain attack) but I did not wake up until September. There was damage to my brain in all areas of my communication center. The connections are short circuiting. I had a visual field cut. I had physical problems. And I have Aphasia but I didn’t know, at that time.
Rehabilitation every day. Work, work, work, and then some more. I would get along with others in conversation. I would pretend to understand others by reading their facial expressions, intonation and body language. My therapist said “Jim is great. But don’t do it again.” I was faking and didn’t know it.
I finally realized that I could be better from this point on.
Now I have a hearing aid. I was there in speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, cognitive therapy, skill group, neuro group, adjustment group, psychology and simulator.
Everyday Can Be a Better Day
I have learned a number of strategies to help me communicate better. You and I must have direct eye contact, get attention before speaking, speak SLOW, minimize or eliminate background noise, keep communication simple, give time to speak, resist the urge to finish sentence, confirm with “yes” and “no” question, one thought at a time, one person at a time, ask for a repeat.
Talk To Me; Talk To Others
I would like to talk to others about Aphasia. Unfortunately, some others do not help. Not intentionally. The police officers could help but they don’t; the church could help but they don’t; the restaurant could help but they don’t; the grocery man could help but they don’t; the banker could help but they don’t; the mall could help but they don’t; the games could help but they don’t; the movies and/or the TV but they don’t help at all. The automated phone – there is no such thing when you have Aphasia. I’m lost! Whatever!?!
One of the reasons that Aphasia is not better known is that people with Aphasia are among the disability group least able to advocate for themselves. They have trouble communicating. There would be nothing worse than surviving without a caregiver, with family and friends! Because I have Aphasia for the rest of my life. And I will never be 100%.
My Goal – Help Others Understand Aphasia
“It is too easy to believe we are at the end of the line when it is only the beginning. One more step, one more effort may be all that is needed. It would amaze us if we knew how close we are to stepping past an old barrier – and it would shake us to know how close we came to quitting. Some would say it is too late – that too much has happened, we cannot go back and recapture what was lost. We have destroyed too much, bent the twig too far. And so it is true in some things. It is true that we have hurt and been hurt. We can’t go back, but we can be lifted up. Sometimes we have to sift our own lives to see what is worth saving, and then we find what we have been made to be. What we have been made is worthwhile, it is good, and we should not let it go to waste. It is time to turn over a new leaf.”
~~ Ben Black Elk ~~
January 01, 2011
Ellayne S. Ganzfried, M.S., CCC-SLP
National Aphasia Association
Valerie Gotcher, M.S., CCC-SLP
Melanie Molinaro, M.A., CCC-SLP
RIC – Center for Aphasia Research & Treatment
Felicity Sale, M.S., CCC-SLP
University of Texas at Dallas
Dean Smith, OTR
Lucas Fire Department
Jeannette Goodman, M.E.C. Ed., B.A.
Wife and Caregiver
Brain Attack Survivor
Comments are not allowed