Patient speaks the truth about aphasia

Published: Jun. 3, 2020 at 5:06 PM PDT
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A little more than a year ago, Michael Vaughn suffered a stroke.

While he is still able to walk, even drive a car, the remnants of that event are very apparent when he speaks.

“When they moved me to rehab, then I realized I wasn't talking normal,” says Vaughn.

His speech is slow. Sometimes he has trouble coming up with the right word. And he may ask you to repeat yourself so he can better understand.

Vaughn has aphasia. It's an injury to the brain. As Michael explains words and sentences are understood in his head, but he just has trouble getting a response of his mouth.

“Yes, it gets stuck,” he says. “I can't find I know the word. I know the word I want to use, And, if you give me time, I will figure it out.”

Aphasia can occur after a stroke or a traumatic brain injury. It can happen to children or seniors.

There is treatment, but it is never ending as progress is slow.

“Aphasia doesn't go away,” says Tami Brancamp Ph.D an associate professor in the Speech Pathology Department at UNR School of Medicine . “It is an injury to the brain that has impacted language. So, it can be treated. The person will continue to improve. I can't promise that you will be exactly as you were the moment before the stroke. But it will definitely get better.”

Brancamp says patients often isolate themselves because it is hard to communicate with others.

Some patients will carry these cards identifying themselves and asking you to be patient, talk slowly, and allow them to respond.

Michael says people sometimes think he is drunk, has a mental disability, or just isn't very bright. Consider he has two Ph.Ds.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020