‘Help is out there’: Mansfield aphasia group marks 10 years supporting residents with speech problems
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The aphasia support group meets once a month on a Tuesday afternoons at the Friends Meeting House, Rosemary Street, and now wants to help more people in the community who may be struggling with the condition alone.
Aphasia is when a person has difficulty with their language or speech – usually caused by damage to the left side of the brain after severe injury or stroke.
However, it can also come on gradually from a slow-growing brain tumour, or a disease that causes progressive, permanent damage.
The disorder can impact a person’s speech, as well as the way they write and understand both spoken and written language.
Vivien Greaves said the support group in Mansfield has been a huge help for her son Clive Buttery, who suffered a brain haemorrhage when he was 40 and developed aphasia.
“The haemorrhage caused him to have a massive stroke and he lost his language,” Vivien said.
“He now has to live in this foreign world because he can’t get across what he’s trying to tell people. It’s not that he lost his intelligence, he just can’t speak.
“All he can say is ‘I love you’ and people always say ‘aww, isn’t that lovely?’, but it’s very frustrating for him.
“He had his 60th birthday last year, so he’s been struggling with it for 20 years now.
“And while there’s a lot more help available for stroke victims nowadays, aphasia still isn’t something commonly talked about.”
The condition was highlighted in the news last year after Bruce Willis’s family announced the 67-year old actor had aphasia and would retire from acting.
However, Vivien said much more awareness is needed, as aphasia often is not recognised as a disability.
“It’s a very difficult problem,” she said.
“I had a disability book sent to me the other day, and there was nothing in there for people without language.
“Sometimes people have head injuries and strokes and they don’t know where to go for support.
“We now want more people to realise that there is help out there in Mansfield.”