When Communication Is Difficult, All Words Matter
It’s a theme that has been popping up more and more in recent days. Aphasia—and the difficulties of communication that accompany it—add weight to the speaker’s message. It is profound to hear someone work hard to speak their heart. It’s a theme popping up in PSAs and news articles, especially as we near the election.
General Hayden recently created a public service announcement that aired on MSNBC endorsing Joe Biden. While the NAA does not endorse candidates, we admire General Hayden for working hard to use his voice.
The PSA begins with white writing on a black screen:
Former CIA and NSA Director General Michael Hayden suffers from aphasia as a result of a stroke in 2018. Though it’s difficult, he feels it’s important to speak out.
Hayden speaks carefully, and you can hear how far he has come since we first featured him as a Profiles of Aphasia back in 2019.
Aphasia has popped up four times on the New York Times in the past year including a recent article looking at older voters committed to doing their civic duty. They interviewed multiple people, equally aligned with both of the main candidates.
The article begins with a quote from Annamarie Eggert who “has voted in every presidential election since 1948.”
Mrs. Eggert, a Biden supporter in York, Maine, has expressive aphasia, a condition that has made it difficult for her to talk … each word painstakingly coaxed from her lips. “Come hell — or high water, I will — vote.”
It’s an admirable commitment to civic duty made all the more powerful because words and communication are currently difficult.
Aphasia has been nudged into the spotlight this election season—from Gabby Giffords’s speech during the Democratic National Convention to articles like the ones above using aphasia to point out the added importance of the speaker’s words.
What do you think about this aphasia messaging?
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