Aphasia - Language Disorder

Aphasia is a language impairment typically caused by injury to the left hemisphere of the brain due to stroke or other brain injury.  It affects all areas of language function, including speaking, understanding spoken speech, writing, and reading.  Aphasia can have many different presentations depending on which area of the left hemisphere was affected. 

Some common symptoms of aphasia include:       

  • Difficulty retrieving the correct word, and/or substituting a word for the needed word.  Sometimes these substitutions make sense, but often they change the meaning of what is intended to be said.       
  • Use of words that are not real and do not make sense. A patient’s language may show occasional use of strange words, or may be almost entirely nonsensical, depending on the severity of the aphasia.
  • Difficulty making a point, excessive talking to make a vague point, or using a lot words with very little resulting meaning at the end of speaking: “empty” speech.        
  • Difficulty understanding what is being said. Some patients may say “yes” to every question, or answer with irrelevant statements.          
  • Difficulty initiating speech, or near complete inability to talk.    
  • Effortful speech that is difficult to produce, is missing words (telegraphic speech), or has many sound errors.
  • Inability or decreased ability to write.         
  • Impaired reading comprehension. Some patients may not recognize letters, while others may struggle with single words or short sentences.   

Lake Regional’s speech therapy team utilizes a unique, comprehensive approach to the treatment of aphasia.  While many approaches to aphasia treatment target only a single modality (speaking, listening, reading, or writing), Lake Regional therapists use a treatment approach that targets all language modalities for every task of language in a sequenced hierarchy of difficulty. 

We are proud of all of our patients’ successes in their recovery of language.    For more information about aphasia, please visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) website.