Aphasia is a communication disorder characterized by complete or partial impairment of language comprehension, formulation and use.
It is often the result of a stroke, but may also be caused by brain tumors, degenerative disease, traumatic brain injury and gunshot wounds. The degree of disability depends on the extent and location of the brain damage.
Symptoms of Aphasia May Include
- Difficulty speaking
- Trouble understanding speech
- Word finding problems
- Problems with reading or writing
The 3 main types of aphasia are
- Nonfluent: Difficulty with speaking, writing and word finding. Language and reading comprehension are often relatively intact.
- Fluent: Language comprehension is poor. While speech is fluent, it often makes no sense and consists of jargon and neologisms (made-up words).
- Global: Severe impairments in both language comprehension and speech production.
Speech therapy is the primary treatment for aphasia. It is based on the specific needs of the individual and frequently includes family participation. Aphasia therapy focuses on relearning language skills and often incorporates a variety of approaches including augmentative communication, gesturing and writing to facilitate expression of thoughts and ideas. Goals should be realistic, aiming for best possible communication skills relative to the individual’s abilities.