Aphasia is a neurogenic language disorder acquired as a result of brain injury, typically affecting the left hemisphere, and impacting fundamental aspects of the language network. Aphasia manifests with varying degrees of impairment across four primary domains:
- Spoken Language Expression
- Written Expression
- Spoken Language Comprehension
- Reading Comprehension
Aphasia is commonly categorized as either no fluent or fluent, determined by the length and meaningfulness of the speech produced. Within these categories, various subtypes of aphasia exist, differentiating based on expressive and receptive language skills.
Typical signs and symptoms of aphasia encompass:
Impairments in Spoken Language Expression, including:
- Difficulty retrieving words (referred to as anomia).
- Fluently stringing together nonmeaningful or real words to form sentences or phrases devoid of semantic meaning (known as jargon).
- Coining new words that lack meaning or recognition to listeners (referred to as neologisms).
- Sound substitutions (e.g., “wishdasher” instead of “dishwasher”), known as phonemic paraphasias.
- Word substitutions (e.g., “table” instead of “bed,” “bird” instead of “chicken”), termed semantic paraphasias.
- Omitting function words (e.g., “the,” “of,” “was”), resulting in telegraphic speech.
- Lack of awareness of errors.
- Grammatical errors, including omitting or misusing grammatical markers.
- Halting or effortful speech.
- Speaking in single words or fragmented phrases.
- Syntax errors, involving words placed in incorrect order.
Impairments in Spoken Language Comprehension, including:
- Difficulty understanding spoken utterances.
- Needing extra time to comprehend spoken messages.
- Struggling with complex grammar, such as passive sentences (e.g., “The dog was chased by the cat”).
- Difficulty understanding lengthy or rapidly delivered speech, like complex conversations or television programs.
- Challenges in comprehending spoken language without visual support (e.g., on the telephone or radio).
- Difficulty interpreting nonliteral language (e.g., idiomatic expressions like “It’s raining cats and dogs”).
- Lack of awareness of comprehension errors.
For individuals seeking treatment of aphasia, speech therapy for aphasia, or treatment for aphasia disease, there are various therapeutic approaches available. These treatments aim to address the unique challenges posed by aphasia, including perseveration, to help individuals regain and improve their language skills.