Aphasia patients struggle with speech impairment

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Liz Strassburger survived the holocaust. But now she has a new struggle. Liz has aphasia. Simply, she can't get the words out.

Aphasia isn't losing intelligence. It's losing language skills due to stroke, brain injury, or in Liz's case, they're not sure.

Liz and her husband John belong to an aphasia support group made up of accomplished professionals, many of them world travelers, now imprisoned by speech.

With therapy, people with aphasia can regain much of their speech. But a lot of people think the person's mentally slow or drunk. But they're not. And they can be any age.

John McMahon was just 20-years-old when he had a stroke six years ago. Once an engineering major at Virginia Tech, he says those misperceptions are tough.

“They speak to them as if they were children, or as if they don't comprehend things,” explained Art McMahon, John’s father. “And that's not the issue.”

Another issue, isolation. Friends fall away. Liz Strassburger knows that hurt all too well.

“It's very bad,” said Strassburger. “To a person who did so much, and I can't.”

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