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Aphasia: The loss of language

Aphasia is a neurological disorder caused by brain damage. Brain areas that are responsible for speech and language processing &/ production are affected. Persons with aphasia are characterized by loss of ability to understand and express spoken &/ or written language. It is most common among the elderly population.

Common causes

  • Stroke

  • Head injury

  • Brain tumor/ disease


  • Difficulty to speak

  • Difficulty to name objects & / people

  • Difficulty in the selection of "right" words while speaking

  • Difficulty in understanding and responding to conversations

Types of aphasia

  • Global aphasia - Severe form of aphasia characterized by a few recognizable words and understand little/ no spoken language.

  • Broca's aphasia - Characterized by a relatively better understanding of speech and limited speech output.

  • Wernicke's aphasia - Characterized by an impaired understanding of speech and relatively better speech output. But the speech output will mostly be irrelevant with non-meaningful words or wrong selection of words.

  • Anomic aphasia - Characterized by impaired naming skills and word-finding difficulties. Speech understanding and output are relatively preserved.

These are the most common types of aphasia. However, there are other intricate and related varieties too.

How does speech and language therapy help?

  • Improves communication skills (speech, language, and cognitive skills)

  • Improves participation in conversations and hence in family and society

  • Improves confidence and motivation levels to communicate

  • Improves quality of life


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