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Aphasia

Definition


Aphasia is a language disorder resulting from damage to the brain. Typically the damage has occurred in the left side of the brain (although right side damage has a part to play), this is the area responsible for language. Language is a broad term and includes spoken language, written language and gestures. It is common for Aphasia to co-exist with other disorders. Aphasia is a long term condition.

Everyday function: A person with Aphasia can find it difficult to speak, read, write and understand what others are saying. Simple everyday tasks such as watching TV or answering the phone can become an obstacle.

Participation in society: People with Aphasia can feel isolated due to their difficulties with communication. Their difficulties may prevent them from seeing family and friends, from going to work and from accessing community facilities e.g. shops.

Mental well-being: Aphasia can also impact on a person's mental well-being, individuals can experience frustration, depression and anxiety.

Notes


The three most common types of Aphasia are:

Broca's Aphasia: non-fluent or expressive Aphasia. An individual experiences difficulty speaking eg. putting together sentences, their speech may be a string of words and their vocabulary is limited. The individual may still be able to understand speech and read relatively well.

Wernicke's Aphasia: fluent Aphasia. An individual can speak using long, complex sentences, but the actual words they use do not make sense, or they include nonsense words in their speech. Individuals with Wernicke's Aphasia are often unaware that their spoken language makes no sense to others and this can lead to frustration.

Global Aphasia: severe form of Aphasia. An individual will have difficulty with all forms of communication, including speaking, reading, writing, correctly naming objects or people, and understanding other people's speech.

How we can help


Every person with Aphasia experiences their own set of difficulties and therefore individual goals are set. Our Speech and Language Therapists will consider the 'bigger picture' and how to help the person to maximise their communication.

Therapy may include work to target specific processes e.g. word finding. Therapy could also work on developing an individual's compensatory strategies and introducing alternative methods such as gestures, drawing, symbols or Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC), if needed. Our therapist will also consider adapting the environment to assist the individual's understanding including working with the family or those around the person to adapt their communication style to help the individual.

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