Understanding Aphasia Essay

1200 words - 5 pages

Aphasia is an acquired language communication disorder which is a result of localised damage to a part of the brain that is responsible for language. It usually occurs suddenly due to a stroke or head injury, but it can also develop slowly due to brain tumours, infection or dementia. Aphasia is an impairment of any language modality, for example, processing language by reading, writing, comprehension or expression. This may include difficulty in producing or understanding spoken or written language. This disorder does not affect general intellectual functioning; a person with aphasia can still carry out non-linguistic tasks. Aphasia can also occur with other speech disorders such as dysarthria or apraxia of speech, which is also a result from brain damage. This disorder affects about one million people or 1 in 250 people in America. It is more common than Parkinson’s disease or cerebral palsy however it is still not very well known. Most people that have aphasia have largely problems with receptive language. Language is not just orally impaired, but also skills such as reading and writing are as well. Normally, reading and writing are more affected than oral communication. But obviously everyone is different, so the severity of this disorder can differ too. This all depends on many factors, but most importantly the amount and location of damage to the brain.
Aphasia is usually recognized by the physician who treats the person for their brain injury. The physician performs tests that involve the patient to follow commands, answer questions, name objects, and carry on a conversation. If the physician suspects aphasia, the patient is then referred to a speech-language pathologist, who performs a comprehensive examination of the person’s communication abilities. The examination includes the person’s ability in speech, understanding, expressing, social communication, reading and writing.
There are many types of Aphasia, the two simplest types are fluent (receptive or Wernicke’s) and non-fluent (expressive or Broca’s) aphasia.
Damage to the temporal lobe (the side portion) of the brain may cause fluent aphasia. A person that has this disorder usually has very noticeable comprehension problems. The ability to understand the meaning of spoken words is mainly impaired, while the ease of producing connected speech is not affected much. Therefore Wernicke's aphasia is referred to as a 'fluent aphasia.' Nevertheless, speech is far from normal. Sentences do not hang together and irrelevant words intrude, always randomly occurring in sentences that makes no sense at all. Reading and writing are often severely impaired too. ”. Their syntax is generally unaffected. There seems to be a specific deficit in semantics; there is trouble hooking the actual meanings of words, especially nouns, to the objects to which they refer.They make semantic errors with words, and have difficulties either in auditory verbal comprehension or in the repetition of words,...

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