When the words don’t come

“When I had my stroke friends stayed away. And for five years after my stroke I could not say a word. And then for three years I could say some words… and now I can talk about 80 per cent of the time.”

That has been the experience of Cambridge’s Paula Crean, and she has shared them because she runs the Cambridge Aphasia Group, which caters for people with the speech condition.

Members of the Waikato Kōrero Club; Emiliana Khoury, Katrina Smit, Miriam Smit and Allison Surtees.

And June is aphasia awareness month.

Paula Crean and Jim Smith, who both have aphasia, meet once a fortnight at the Clementine Café.

Community Aphasia Advisor Christa Grbin says aphasia is a language impairment caused by damage to the language area of the brain and can be caused by a stroke or brain injury or a tumour.

“Aphasia can make it hard for people to say what they are thinking, understand what is being said to them, read and write. Aphasia does not affect intelligence. People with aphasia know what they want to say, they just have greater difficulty accessing their vocabulary to say it.”

Crean said she wanted it in Cambridge “because I know how much it is for a friend to talk to”.

“The Cambridge Aphasia Group is all about making friends, engaging in conversation and enjoying good coffee. Paula and Jim would love to meet more local Cambridge people with aphasia,” Grbin said.

Waikato community aphasia advisor Christa Grbin, centre with Jim Smith and Paula Crean.

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