International Aphasia Association

Written by: Jernej Sluga

The International Aphasia Association (Association Internationale Aphasie) (AIA – www.aphasia-international.com) connects persons with aphasia from 21 countries. The Association is striving to gain greater recognition and provide better information concerning aphasia to persons with aphasia and their families. Ever since 1990, the AIA members meet once a year for the General Assembly meeting where they discuss various topics and new projects related to aphasia and operation of the Association.

Following the example of other AIA members, it was our goal to establish Aphasia Section in Slovenia within the Cerebrovascular Disease (CVD) Association. The initiators for establishing the section were: Nada Žemva, MSc, Milan Čuček, Lara Slivnik and Jernej Sluga.

The fact that one third of patients suffering from brain stroke experiences communication difficulties is the main reason for establishing the Section. Due to speech impairment some prefer not to attend the activities organized within the CVD Association. The Section shall strive to attract as many members as possible who experience communication difficulties as a result of the stroke. Inside every CVD Association in Slovenia there shall be also a section for patients with aphasia. In this way we wish to develop the standards that are already present in other states around the world.

The purpose of the Section is to encourage people with aphasia to socialize and to bridge the difficulties of everyday life together. This includes activities for people with aphasia, their family members and friends. By doing so, we wish to prevent the persons with aphasia from feeling socially isolated.

The goal of the Section is to offer help to people with aphasia in their everyday life and in their environment, to promote public awareness of aphasia, provide information and prepare leaflets on aphasia, and to offer help in the organization and forming of local groups for people with aphasia, their family members and friends.

This year I attended the AIA General Assembly meeting as the representative of the CVD Association which took place in Seville, Spain. Our association paid the membership and thus became a full member of AIA.

Patients with aphasia wish to express our gratitude to Nada Žemva for her assistance and dedication.