Lawmakers introduce bill to commemorate June 2011 as National Aphasia Awareness Month

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and co-Chair of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Alzheimer’s Task Force, announced the introduction of H. Res. 285, the National Aphasia Awareness Act of 2011, which he is cosponsoring with Congressman Mike Doyle (D-Pa.). The bill would designate June 2011 as National Aphasia Awareness Month, bringing public attention to the realities of aphasia and the importance of aphasia-related services and supports for those suffering from the disorder.

Aphasia is a communication impairment affecting nearly one million people in the United States, caused by brain damage resulting from a stroke, brain tumor, or head injury. While the condition does not affect intelligence, it impairs an individual’s language processing and speech skills, often causing a great sense of frustration and isolation among patients, and leading some to call it “the Silent Disability”.

I am honored to forward this legislation that will help raise awareness and make the voices of people with aphasia heard when all too often they are unable to communicate with othersbecause of their condition,” said Rep. Markey. “The more attention we give this debilitating condition, the more opportunity we have to study and find new solutions for individuals experiencing aphasia and their caregivers.”

The legislation would help raise public awareness about aphasia in order to address the lack of proper diagnoses and resources for those affected by the disease.

Rep. Markey has worked on legislative efforts to eradicate Alzheimer’s disease, with which aphasia can be associated. Last month Reps. Markey and Smith (R-N.J.) introduced the Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act of 2011 (H.R. 1897), which would require a federal commitment to Alzheimer treatment research. This bill builds upon Rep. Markey’s introduction in April 2011 of the Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act (H.R. 1386), which would provide Medicare coverage of diagnoses and services for Alzheimer’s and related dementias.