What is Aphasia?
Aphasia / a•pha•sia / is a language disorder that deprives the ability to communicate. It is caused by injury or damage to the left side of the brain. A person with aphasia may have difficulty speaking, comprehension, reading, writing, and numbers.
What Causes Aphasia?
The common cause of aphasia is stroke, leaving up to 25-40% of stroke survivors with aphasia. Other causes are damage to the language-dominant side of the brain, usually the head injury, brain tumors, infection and other neurological deceases occurs on the left side of the brain.
How Common is Aphasia?
Although, aphasia is a common affect of stroke or brain injury, less than 85% of people have ever heard the term or know what aphasia is. It affects about 2 million Americans a year.
Can a person who has Aphasia, not have physical disabilities?
Yes, a person who has Aphasia may not have any physical disabilities. Numbness or paralysis may occur to the right side of the body. A stroke can cause damage to the left side of the brain that controls language as well as movements on the right side of the body. This is unless someone acquires PPA (Primary Progressive Aphasia) which does not cause physical disability.
Are there types of aphasia?
There are many different types. For example, people with Broca’s aphasia (expressive), damage to frontal regions of the brain make people struggle to form full sentence, but may leave out words like “is” or “the”.
Another type of aphasia, known as Wernicke’s aphasia (receptive), causes people to utter long sentences that may include nonsense words. Someone with Wernicke’s damage may refer to a fork as a non sense word like “fook”
Global aphasia is another type of aphasia, this is a more severe form of aphasia. Patients who have Global Aphasia can produce few recognizable words, and have a harder time understanding spoken language.
Does Aphasia Affect a Person’s Intelligence?
NO. People with aphasia are just as intelligent as they were before aphasia. They have difficulty retrieving words, names, and sometimes numbers letters. They have difficulty to speak, reading, write and comprehension, but the person’s intelligence is intact. This can become extremely frustrating!
How long does it take to recover from aphasia?
It is not always possible to know how long it will take to recover, or if the person will ever fully recover. Every stroke is individualized, and they really is no way of knowing just how long it will take for recovery to occur. Each individual will recover differently. Although, aphasia can continue to improve gradually over a period of years. Others can always use skills to learn. Your brain uses neuroplasticity to rewire and reconnect pathways to help a person recover.
Also, people with aphasia improve with communication skills working with a speech therapists (or speech language pathologist SLP) to improve.