Aphasia (uh-fay-zha), sometimes called dysphasia, is the loss of the ability to speak, to understand what someone else is saying, or both. It is a communication disorder that results when parts of the brain that contain language are damaged. Aphasia affects different people in different ways. Someone with aphasia may have difficulty doing some or all of the following:

Katherine stares intently into the mirror, applying lip liner and lipstick with the meticulousness of a portrait painter. The control and attention to detail seem at odds with the setting, the restroom of a community arena. “I had a stroke a few years ago,” Katherine says. “My smile is still a little crooked, but I can make it less obvious this way.” You would never guess she’s a stroke survivor.