What is Aphasia?

Have you heard of aphasia? It’s a communication disorder that results from damage to parts of the brain that contain language.  Aphasia can cause difficulties in speaking, reading, writing and listening.

So what causes aphasia? The most common cause is stroke, but anything that can damage the parts of the brain that control language can cause aphasia, like tumors, traumatic brain injury and neurological disorders.

Here are some of the symptoms of aphasia:

  • Difficulty coming up with the words they want to say
  • Substituting words with either related or unrelated words
  • Switching sounds within words
  • Using made up words
  • Difficulty putting together sentences
  • Stringing made up and real words together to form sentences
  • Misunderstanding others when listening to fast speech or long sentences
  • Difficulty understanding speech in background noise or in large groups
  • Misinterpreting jokes
  • Difficulty reading
  • Difficulty with spelling and putting words into sentences
  • Difficulty understanding number concepts

It is estimated that about one million people suffer from aphasia in the U.S. Luckily, there are many treatments. Treatment depends on the needs of each person, and can be provided in individual or group sessions. The important thing to remember is that while aphasia affects parts of speech, reading and writing, it does not at all affect intelligence. Getting proper treatment, and working with a speech-language pathologist can improve overall communication.

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