December 12, 2016

ignorancePeople with aphasia and their caregivers consistently report to the National Aphasia Association (NAA) that they confront a lack of awareness of aphasia or misconceptions about the condition. To understand better the level of aphasia awareness among the general population, we conducted a national awareness survey involving more than a thousand respondents throughout the country.

What we wanted to learn is not only how many people have heard the term aphasia, but also whether they understand what aphasia is, what cognitive areas it affects, and, very importantly, to what extent people associated language deficits with intellectual disabilities. We asked questions such as:

  • Have you ever heard the term aphasia?
  • How would you describe aphasia?
  • Do you agree with the statement that if a person has difficulty with speech, it means that they also have intellectual deficiencies?
  • Where did you first hear about aphasia?

Some of the key results are summarized in the infographic below. You can also check out our detailed report of the survey results that includes methodology and a link to the raw data.


One of the big concerns that people with aphasia report to us is that often people who are not familiar with the condition perceive them as having intellectual deficits due to their difficulty with speech. We wanted to know just how pervasive this association is. We found that about a third of the general population either thinks that speech deficit means intellectual deficit or at least they don’t make a clear distinction between the two, as the results below indicate:


Another key aspect for aphasia awareness was finding out how people first hear about aphasia. This has important implications for future efforts in raising awareness about the condition. We asked people how many times in the past year they’ve seen or heard mention of aphasia in media and what was the source. The graph below summarizes the results:


Newspapers, magazines or online publications were listed as one of the most common ways that people remembered first hearing about aphasia. This was closely followed by television or movies.

What can you do to help raise awareness?

  • Share this survey – or highlight infographics – with your friends and across your social networks.
  • Talk about aphasia with those who don’t understand it.
  • Get involved with your local aphasia group – or start one if there isn’t one in your area.
  • Run a race! #aphasia.
  • If you are a speech professional, become an NAA affiliate and get a listing in our national directory of services.
  • Reach out to your local media (newspapers, magazines, TV channels) with potential stories and news about aphasia, especially during the aphasia awareness month of June.
  • Stay updated on aphasia news and current events by signing up for the NAA’s newsletter and share with others via your social media channels.
  • Donate to the NAA at or to your local aphasia center.

Read detailed report of the survey results.

Questions or comments? Please email us at