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AphasiaNZ: Enhancing Support for Language Loss

    Aphasia is a condition that often occurs due to strokes, brain tumours, or other brain-related conditions and can result in the sudden loss of language abilities such as speaking, understanding, reading, writing, and using numbers.

    Once diagnosed by a speech-language therapist or doctor, people can be referred to AphasiaNZ for support, with most referrals coming from hospital therapists or the Stroke Foundation Community Stroke Advisor. Funding from Rotorua Trust has aided AphasiaNZ in delivering its services to the Rotorua region. Robbie Ross, Fundraising and Marketing Manager says, “Rotorua Trust is a vital contributor to our ongoing work in the community.”

    AphasiaNZ offers a comprehensive support program through their Community Aphasia Advisors (CAAs), who are trained Speech Language Therapists with extensive knowledge of aphasia and its effects on individuals and their loved ones.

    Upon contact, AphasiaNZ engages with individuals and their families, addressing concerns and arranging home visits to provide information, answer questions, and offer support. Various options for support are discussed, including attending Kōrero Clubs, where individuals can connect with others who understand the challenges of aphasia, receiving additional home visits for tailored support, participating in supported conversation training, utilising therapy apps on iPads with the support of a therapist, accessing written resources such as booklets and the NZ Stroke and Aphasia Handbook, and exploring other support avenues through referrals to relevant agencies.

    AphasiaNZ not only focuses on individual support but also aims to raise awareness of aphasia. Through initiatives like Aphasia Awareness Month, which took place in June, they promote the theme of ‘Living well with aphasia,’ aiming to educate the public about communication difficulties and foster inclusivity and understanding. By empowering individuals with aphasia to participate in their communities, AphasiaNZ envisions a future where timely and comprehensive support is readily available and the community is well-informed and inclusive.