April 1 – Earlier this week, Bruce Willis, known for his roles in “Die Hard” and “Pulp Fiction,” chose to step away from his film career after developing aphasia.
While the announcement shocked fans, it also shed light on devastating communication disruption.
A press release from the West Texas Aphasia Center detailed a study from Aphasia Access that 75 percent of people with aphasia do not return to work.
Beth Crawford, director of the West Texas Aphasia Program, says aphasia affects 1 in 250 people in the Permian Basin and is almost always caused by a brain injury.
While Willis’ diagnosis is hard to hear, Crawford hopes it will help spread the word and educate those who don’t know what aphasia is.
“I think just hearing the word coming from the media is an important thing to note,” Crawford said. “We get a response when we try to educate people about aphasia that people are either not interested in[recognizing it]or it is too complex. We are happy to hear the word because many of our West Texas neighbors have aphasia and it assures them to hear the word being said in social media.” Main Media”.
Crawford said that aphasia is often acquired suddenly by stroke but may also arise from head trauma or infection or, more slowly, in the case of a brain tumor or primary progressive aphasia, which is a neurodegenerative disease.
Crawford says more people have been asking her about aphasia since the Willis news broke.
“There were so many details about the story that people were curious,” Crawford said. “We’ve spent years educating people in West Texas about aphasia and through outreach events and concerts and the work we do at the center. Just having someone known to the general public, being diagnosed, makes people curious and makes them ask questions. They care about people. who know them, so I’ve had a lot of questions from family and friends over the past 24 hours about what aphasia is and what’s going to happen to Bruce Willis.”
One of the questions relates to cognitive fears.
Crawford wants the public to know that aphasia is not necessarily aligned with cognitive decline.
“People with aphasia are competent, intelligent, and able to make their own decisions and judgments,” Crawford said. “In certain cases, there can be a narrow degenerative process known as primary progressive aphasia that can occur slowly over time. This condition is called primary aphasia because it begins in the language networks of the brain and then continues to progress over time. Then, it can lead to deterioration. Cognitive. But aphasia, in its early form, is not in line with cognitive decline. I want people to understand that their intelligence is healthy. If cognitive decline occurs, it is because of a pathological process behind the aphasia.”
As the second independent aphasia center in North America, the West Texas Aphasia Center advances its mission to improve the quality of life for individuals and families with aphasia by overcoming communication barriers at home and in the community.
The Aphasia Center promotes awareness and understanding of aphasia and offers weekly groups for people dealing with the condition. The center’s goal is to help individuals as well as people who are important to them to communicate, communicate and live well despite aphasia.
The nature of the disorder makes it difficult to have a spokesperson for the aphasia.
“When people develop aphasia, they lose their ability to stand up for themselves and speak for themselves,” Crawford said. “Breaking the news, you have Michael J Fox who has multiple sclerosis but people with aphasia, it takes away their ability to do that and that can be a real hurdle when it comes to trying to educate the public. So with Bruce Willis news, we share our concerns with him and his family because we We know the seriousness of what he is dealing with. We are grateful that he shared the news with the public so that we can shed light on this and become more aware of it.”
The Al Habsa Center will host its annual Aphasia Awareness Party on May 6 at the Horseshoe Amphitheater. The event will feature Journey USA and is free to the public.
“It’s a fun night,” Crawford said. “Our sponsors make it possible and we can invite the public to come for free, so it’s free entry. You also have the opportunity to buy sponsorship. We have a lot of fun and we have a small part of the evening where we talk about aphasia and what it means to someone living that life. We raise awareness and have a lot of fun.”
For more information about the event and for sponsorship, visit https://apasiawtx.org/.
if you go
What: The prison awareness party
When: 7:30 p.m. May 6th
Venue: Midland Horse Show