Living with aphasia: Three Indigenous Australian stories
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
The incidence of cardiovascular disorders and stroke in Australian Aboriginal communities is more than twice as high as non-Indigenous Australians. Approximately 30% of people who survive stroke are left with some level of aphasia, and yet Indigenous Australians appear to be infrequent users of speech-language pathology services, and there is virtually no research literature about the experiences of aphasia for this group of people. This paper presents the stories of living with aphasia for three Indigenous Australian men living in Perth, Western Australia. Their narratives were collected by an Indigenous researcher through in-depth, supported interviews, and were explored using both within-case and cross-case analyses for common and recurring themes. It is argued that there is value for speech-language pathologists, and other health professionals, to be aware of the broad experiences of living with aphasia for Indigenous Australians because their stories are rarely heard and because, as with people with aphasia generally, they are at risk of social isolation and tend to lack visibility in the community. This study explores the key issues which emerge for these three men and highlights the need for further research in this area.