Awareness of aphasia in Israel among Jewish and Arab societies

Aviah Gvion, Mohamad Zbidat, Michal Biran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Aphasia is relatively frequent after stroke (or other brain damage), estimated to occur in 21–38% of the patients. However, awareness of aphasia has been found to be disproportionally low in different countries. In recent years, there has been a transition in aphasia treatment from a predominantly medical approach to the “Life Participation Approach to Aphasia” (LPAA), acknowledging the communication needs of people with aphasia (PWA) and their reintegration into the community. To further advance these efforts, increased public awareness is crucial. Aim: To explore awareness and basic knowledge of aphasia in the general population in Israel among Jewish and Arab populations. Method & Procedures: Survey data was collected using the Public Awareness of Stroke and Aphasia questionnaire (Mavis, 2007), which was translated and adapted into Hebrew and Arabic. The questionnaire was distributed via social media (Facebook and WhatsApp). Four-hundred and thirty-eight questionnaires were analyzed. Two-hundred and fifty-five of the respondents were Israeli- Arabs and 183 were Israeli-Jews; 150 of the respondents reported having a professional health background. Results: Only 44.5% of the respondents indicated familiarity with the term ”aphasia.” Familiarity declined to 26.7% when health profession respondents were excluded. In contrast, familiarity with other neurological diseases was higher. Basic knowledge of aphasia was also poor. Comparisons between responses of Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Jewish respondents revealed that Israeli-Jews were significantly more familiar with the term “aphasia” compared to Israeli-Arabs: 61.2% compared to 32.5%, respectively. Yet, among those who indicated familiarity with aphasia, Israeli-Arabs demonstrated a higher level of knowledge in two out of the three basic knowledge questions about aphasia. Conclusions: Despite significant progress in recognizing the unique needs of PWA and integrating this paradigm shift into clinical practice, awareness of aphasia in Israel remains low, which might impede the integration and active participation of PWA in communication and social activities within the community. Therefore, besides improving clinical services for PWA, increasing public awareness of aphasia is crucial for the rehabilitation process.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAphasiology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • Aphasia
  • public awareness
  • survey

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