What is aphasia?

Updated: Jul 30

Aphasia is the loss of the ability to understand language or use language, and sometimes both. Aphasia occurs when the language areas of the brain have been damaged. Not everyone's aphasia looks the same.


Aphasia may impact a person's ability to:

  • Use language

  • Understand language

  • Read

  • Write/type/text

  • Gesture/draw

Aphasia will also differ in severity. Aphasia can be mild, moderate, or severe. A mild case of aphasia is called anomia. People who have anomia will have trouble naming and finding words in conversation. A severe case of aphasia is called global aphasia.


Aphasia can be incredibly frustrating because individuals have not lost their intelligence. Instead, they have lost the ability to get words out.


Different Types of Aphasia


Broca's Aphasia

Also known as, expressive or non-fluent aphasia. This type of aphasia causes individuals to have difficulty producing language, while their ability to understand language is mostly intact.


Here is a video clip demonstrating what it may sound like if you have Broca's aphasia:


Wernicke's Aphasia

Also known as, fluent or receptive aphasia. This type of aphasia causes individuals to have difficulty understanding language, while producing is language easy. However, the words and sentences produced have many errors and does not make sense.


Here is a video clip demonstrating what it may sound like if you have Wernicke's aphasia:


Global Aphasia

Also known as, severe receptive-expressive aphasia. This type of aphasia causes individuals to have severe difficulty understanding and producing language. Individuals with global aphasia will understand some personally relevant information and will say only a few words or phrases. People with global aphasia tend to repeat the same words or phrases.


Here is a video clip demonstrating what it may sound like if you have global aphasia:


Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA)

This type of aphasia gradually impairs an individual's ability to understand and produce language over time. PPA begins with minor language difficulties and eventually progresses to a nearly total inability to speak. However, despite losing communication skills, people with PPA may still have relative well preserved thinking skills. Therefore, people with PPA maintain the ability to take care of themselves and enjoy hobbies.


Additional Resources:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Aphasia.Recovery.Connection/

https://www.aphasia.org/aphasia-resources/online-communities/

https://www.asha.org/PRPSpecificTopic.aspx?folderid=8589934663&section=Overview


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