Since actor Bruce Willis’s family announced his aphasia diagnosis last week, people across the country have been learning more about the condition.

What You Need To Know

  • Aphasia is a condition that impacts a person's ability to process and understand language

  • One of the largest centers that handle aphasia cases is located in Tampa Bay

  • The center asserts that as many as nearly 30% of all strokes result in aphasia

Aphasia refers to a condition that affects the areas of the brain that process language expression and comprehension, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine

One of the nation’s largest community-based aphasia centers is located in the Tampa Bay Region. The nonprofit is called Voices of Hope for Aphasia — its main location is in St. Petersburg, but programs are also offered in Tampa and Dunedin.

“About 30% of strokes can result in aphasia,” said Executive Director Debbie Yones. “That means in the Tampa Bay Area, based on our population and demographics, that’s about 23,000 people in Tampa Bay that are living with aphasia, and some of them might not even know it.”

Yones said people with sudden-onset aphasia, most commonly caused by stroke, can see improvement through interventions like speech therapy. The group setting is also beneficial, as experts say the diagnosis can be isolating.

Voices of Hope for Aphasia offers in-person programs five days a week and also virtual programs.  For more information, you can visit their website.