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Understanding Aphasia: Effective Workplace Strategies and Support

In an article by Capital Blue Cross, Aphasia, a condition that affects approximately 1 million Americans, impairs the ability to communicate and process language due to brain injuries or strokes, though it does not impact intelligence. This disconnect can lead to significant frustration among those affected, as they remain intellectually capable but struggle with verbal and auditory communication.

Dr. Jeremy Wigginton, the Chief Medical Officer at Capital Blue Cross, highlights the importance of recognizing that individuals with aphasia face challenges in communication, not comprehension. They may find it difficult to speak, read, write, or accurately interpret spoken words, which can mistakenly lead others to underestimate their cognitive abilities.

Prominent individuals such as actors Bruce Willis, Sharon Stone, and U.S. Senator John Fetterman have been diagnosed with aphasia. Senator Fetterman, for example, experienced a notable decline in his communication abilities following a stroke just before his election in 2022. He has since become an advocate for accessible technology in the workplace, utilizing tools like closed captioning devices and audio-to-text transcription services to aid his communication during Senate sessions.

In response to the needs of those with expressive communication disabilities, Senator Fetterman, along with other senators, proposed legislation in late 2023 aimed at ensuring access to assistive technologies. This initiative underscores the potential for individuals with aphasia to remain productive and engaged in professional environments with the right support.

The National Aphasia Association recommends several accommodations in the workplace to support employees with aphasia:

  • Modifying the work pace to accommodate slower communication processes.
  • Employing multiple forms of communication, such as visual aids and written follow-ups.
  • Creating quieter work environments to reduce auditory processing difficulties.
  • Educating co-workers about aphasia to foster a more inclusive atmosphere.

Healthcare plans, such as those offered by Capital Blue Cross, can also play a crucial role by covering speech therapies and other rehabilitative services essential for people with aphasia. By implementing these strategies, workplaces can help individuals with aphasia continue to contribute effectively and fulfill their professional roles.

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Tammy Annette Robinson 1964-2024

For the past years, Tammy helped take care of her mother. She enjoyed watching game shows and listening to contemporary Christian music.

Robert William Gordon 1947-2024

Born August 18, 1947, a son of the late Merrill R. and Goldie E. Kotzmoyer Gordon, Bob liked to hunt and fish, and loved spending time with his family.

Janice Mae Keller 1938-2024

Janice always enjoyed shopping trips with her children and always used that opportunity to stop at her favorite restaurant, Olive Garden.

Ethel R. Smith 1935-2024

Ethel was a very loving and caring woman. She will always be remembered and cherished as a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend.

Sharon M. Matthews 1951-2024

Sharon enjoyed game shows on TV, mostly Wheel of Fortune. She also liked watching the Food Network and talk about what they made.

Ralph V. Foltz 1928-2024

Ralph enjoyed hunting, telling stories, and traveling around the United States on bus trips, alongside his wife Lois.

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