Aphasia

Have you ever been at a loss for words? Where you can not just communicate what you need to in this moment and time? While you are just living with it for a moment, others have to deal with this for longer. Aphasia is a condition that causes you to not be able to communicate. As someone who dealt with speech problems in my earlier years of elementary school, I sympathize with people who have aphasia. I know that what I had was clearly not nearly as close as what people with aphasia have to deal with on a daily basis. But I do know that it is hard to have a speech problem. My problems were with L, K, and later on R. Surprisingly enough over the weekend we were cleaning out the attic (which gave me the inspiration to write this blog post about aphasia), and I found my old speech therapy book that helped me. I didn’t realize that I had problems with L or K, and my mom filled me in on how it was for me. It was hard but I soon got the hang of it. Unfortunately, people with Aphasia may not get this luxury. 

 

Aphasia occurs suddenly after a stroke or even a head injury. But it can come on slowly when there is a brain tumor forming as well. (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/aphasia/ symptoms-causes/syc-20369518) Some of the treatments that have helped is language and speech therapy. They can relearn and be able to practice language skills and will learn other ways to communicate with their family. According to (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-cond itions/aphasia/ symptoms-causes/syc-20369518) here are some symptoms a person with aphasia may present: 

  • Speak in short or incomplete sentences
  • Speak in sentences that don’t make sense
  • Substitute one word for another or one sound for another
  • Speak unrecognizable words
  • Not understand other people’s conversation
  • Write sentences that don’t make sense

But the severity of these symptoms is the worse the damage they have. 

With most anything there are different types of aphasia. From (https://www.stroke.org/en/abo  ut-stroke/effects-of-stroke/cognitive-and-communication-effects-of-stroke/types-of-aphasia) here are the types of aphasia. Wernicke’s aphasia, you may say a lot of words that do not make sense, use wrong words, or string together meaningless words that could sound like a sentence that does not make sense. Broca’s aphasia, you have difficulty forming complete sentences, leaving out words like is and the, saying something that does not resemble a sentence, trouble understanding other people’s sentences, making mistakes in following directions, and using a word that’s close to what you intend, but not the exact word. Last one is Global Aphasia which they are able to understand/form words and sentences. In the end, the best way a family can help their loved ones is with asking yes/no questions, using gestures to emphasize their point, clarifying what the topic is before the conversation gets started, and modifying the length and complexity of the conversation they will be having. Aphasia can be helped and treated with therapies, so that way aphasia patients won’t feel as isolated.

3 thoughts on “Aphasia

  1. rgallahan

    I empathize with this so much. I used to go to speech therapy for my lisp for years, having people understand me was hard, and to imagine not even being able to put the words together, i can’t. I also would be so upset if this happened to me after an injury, because that means you knew what it was like to speak normally and than have your whole life turned upside down. Do they know they are not speaking coherently or do they know its jumbled. Imagine trying to explain to someone they have this disease when they can not understand you :(.

  2. hmckeen

    I enjoyed reading your post. I had never heard of aphasia before reading your blog post, but it sounds incredibly difficult and frustrating for the person suffering from it. I wonder if people can be born with this condition originating from different brain abnormalities or does it just occur after stroke or injury? I can imagine how frustrating that might be for once normal individuals to slowly lose the ability to speak coherently as you described in your post. I know stroke patients sometimes temporarily lose the ability to speak coherently following a stroke but then regain the ability as the body recovers. Is this still considered aphasia in that it can be temporary? Great post on an interesting topic!

  3. swills

    I’ve never heard of global aphasia before, but that makes sense that there are cases with those symptoms. Aphasia is certainly complicated just like any cognitive condition, but I’m glad that you included those tools that family and friends can use to communicate with people who have aphasia. I’m definitely interested to see what kinds of tools come out as we improve technologies. Maybe tools that are already used for autism or speech disabilities can be used for people with aphasia as well.

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