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Overview of Aphasia

making sense of aphasia

What is Aphasia? 

Aphasia is a neurologic disorder resulting from damage to portions of the brain responsible for language. Aphasia is most commonly seen in adults who have suffered a stroke, but can also result from a brain tumor, infection, head injury, dementia, or any other factor that damages the brain.

What are characteristics/symptoms?

Individuals who acquire aphasia have difficulty expressing themselves when speaking, struggle with understanding speech, and display difficulty with reading and writing.

What are types/classifications?

Aphasia can be divided into four general categories. The type and severity of language dysfunction depends on the specific location and extent of damaged brain tissue.

Expressive Aphasia

Involves difficulty in conveying thoughts through speech or writing. With expressive aphasia, the patient knows what he wants to say, but cannot find the words he’s looking for to accurately express his thoughts.

Receptive Aphasia 

Results in difficulty understanding spoken or written language. Here, the patient can hear or see what is being said, but cannot make sense of the words.

Anomic (Amnesia) Aphasia

Is considered the least severe form of Aphasia. With this form of the disorder, patients have difficulty using the correct name for particular objects, people, places, or events.

Global Aphasia 

Is classified as the most severe type of Aphasia, resulting from severe and extensive damage to language areas of the brain. With this form of Aphasia, patients lose almost complete language function, both comprehensive and expressive. As a result, patients cannot speak or understand speech, and also cannot read or write.

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