Aphasia Awareness Month wrapped up yesterday. We started early to give you 35 days of activities to celebrate our 35th anniversary. Here are some highlights from the month.

Gabby Giffords

The former congresswoman recorded a special message for the NAA to mark Aphasia Awareness Month. Be inspired by her message about aphasia!

Special Ask the Experts Panel

We also held a special Ask the Experts panel General Michael Hayden, Coleman Watson, Doreen Mendez, and Cris Gomes about life with aphasia. You can watch all of our past Ask the Expert webinars on the page or click the embedded video below if you missed the event.

Survey Results Released During Aphasia Awareness Month

Every four years, the NAA surveys a sample of the general public to chart aphasia awareness. We decided to run the next survey two years early to see how much Bruce Willis’s aphasia announcement made a difference.

In 2020, 7% of the people asked had heard of aphasia and could identify it as a language disorder. In 2022, that number is 40%.

It is clear that when celebrities speak out about health issues, it makes a difference in spreading awareness to the general public. We will be forever grateful to the Willis family that they used their platform in this manner. You can see the full survey results here.

Research Grant Recipients Announced

We announced the recipients of the Barbara Martin Aphasia Research Grants. We are thrilled to honor Barbara’s memory by funding research that will benefit people with aphasia. We received so many high quality entries and wish we could fund all of them.

Ellyn A. Riley, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is studying fatigue and sleepiness in aphasia. This is a common challenge for many individuals as they recover from stroke, which impacts quality of life and communication. Although we know fatigue is common in persons with stroke and aphasia, we do not yet know the best ways to help. This study will tackle that problem.

Bijoyaa Mohapatra, Ph.D., CCC-SLP has a vision for a telerehabilitation program for racial and ethnically diverse, minority, low-income African-American persons with aphasia. This will lead to increased quality of life and lead to new programs for low-income people with aphasia.

Learn more about NAA-funded research and research opportunities at the research portal.

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who ran a fundraiser for Aphasia Awareness Month. We could not do the work we do without your support:

Jackie Hinckley (My 35 Years as an SLP)
The NAA Board of Directors (Honoring Our Founder, Martha Sarno)
Lynne Gurner (Abolish Aphasia)
Heather Hess (Ms.)
Melissa Weiler (Hope for Aphasia)
Lynn Rozental (More Words)
Jasmine Anderson (Aphasia Awareness Fundraiser)
Christine Doty (in memory of her daddy, Coach Steve)
John Wygmans (John W)
Lane Ruble (Lane’s Aphasia Fundraiser)
Megan Wilkins (East Texas Aphasia Support Group Fundraiser)
Melissa Ford (#AphasiaTogether)
Darlene Williamson ($35 Can Be Powerful)
Greg Thomas (Greg’s Fundraiser)

More Work to Do

The NAA doesn’t rest at the end of Aphasia Awareness Month; we just jump into our next projects and return to ongoing efforts such as our Aphasia Cafe chats.

We’re working on more weekly articles about the emotional side of aphasia and developments that affect aphasia treatment, more videos explaining aphasia, and more materials to support caregivers. There is always more work to do to support the aphasia community and spread awareness to the general public.

Thank you for all of your hard work last month, and we’re looking forward to another year of aphasia awareness as we move beyond June.