A book for those who have lost their words — The Spinoff

THE AUTHOR’S FATHER AND SON, 2016 (PHOTO: CATHERINE WOULFE)

 
James Stephens* was a teacher and voracious reader until 2015, when a stroke took his words. After years of speech therapy and hard slog he has now written – written – a book for others who have aphasia, and for those who love them. Books editor Catherine Woulfe reports.

(ay-faze-yuh)

n. Partial or total loss of the ability to articulate ideas or comprehend spoken or written language, resulting from damage to the brain caused by injury or disease

– Aphasia NZ

My dad has a form of aphasia that came out of nowhere and gets worse over time. It eventually leaves a person silent and shut in, unable to make sense of books or media or, most cruelly, conversation. Primary progressive aphasia, it’s called, and it’s a kind of frontotemporal dementia. He was diagnosed nine years ago, at 55, and has now deteriorated to the point that he needs hospital-level care. My dad is stubborn as all hell and he hated what was happening to him. As his words blanked out – the nouns went first – he would wave his hands in frustration, grimace, shrug.

Read more at: https://thespinoff.co.nz/books/05-08-2021/a-book-for-those-who-have-lost-their-words/