“Aphasia” is an acquired communication disorder, defined by the loss, or impairment, of language skills. It occurs after an individual has already learned their primary language, but through some kind of neurological incident, these abilities become distorted and fragmented.
Though many people with aphasia may not be able to communicate fluently, the condition does not directly affect intelligence. Aphasia is thought to be a lifelong condition, it cannot be “cured,” but it can be improved with speech and language therapy—sometimes dramatically.
Currently, 2.5 - 4 million Americans live with aphasia. Doctors and therapists write about it. Academics too. Caregivers do their best to render the experiences of their loved ones into words for them, but because of their limited language skills, many people with aphasia never get opportunities to speak for themselves.
Aphasia is peculiar. It is determined by an absence more than a presence. For that reason, aphasia defies description. It is like…nothing. Everything. Down to its very essence, aphasia is unspeakable.