Aphasia is an acquired language disorder, most commonly caused by stroke. There are several types of aphasia, including:
- Non-fluent aphasias, often caused by damage to Broca’s area in the left hemisphere of the brain. People with non-fluent aphasia speak in limited, agrammatical effortful, halting, and slow speech with impaired prosody (including pitch and stress patterns). Other kinds of non-fluent aphasia include what are called transcortical motor aphasia, mixed transcortical aphasia and global aphasia (caused by extensive lesions affecting several language centres of the brain). People with global aphasia have profoundly impaired language skills, greatly reduced fluency, impaired repetition and naming, severely impaired comprehension and impaired reading and writing;
- Fluent aphasias, often caused by damage in Wernicke’s area of the brain. People with fluent aphasia may speak incessantly and effortlessly, with a rapid rate of speech and intact grammatical structures, but they have severe word finding problems, use lots of meaningless or empty words, frequently talk around words that they cannot recall, poor comprehension (especially for names), problems repeating words, and reading and writing problems. Sometimes, people with fluent aphasia are misdiagnosed as confused or mentally ill. Other kinds of fluent aphasia include transcortical sensory and conduction aphasias. Conduction aphasia, which is rare, is caused by damage in the region between Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas, and is characterised by severe impairments in repetition.
In reality, the language centres of the brain and the connections between them are much more complicated than we can describe here – and, in fact, not fully within our current understanding. Frequently, people with aphasia display symptoms of of both fluent and non-fluent aphasia, and require treatment tailored to their impairments and personal goals.
- How to write for people with acquired language problems (an example)
- Stroke and aphasia awareness talk. Thank you Concord!
Banter Speech & Language is owned and managed by David Kinnane, a Hanen- and LSVT LOUD-certified speech-language pathologist with post-graduate training in the Spalding Method for literacy, the Lidcombe and Camperdown Programs for stuttering, and Voicecraft for voice disorders. David is also a Certified PESL Instructor for accent modification.
David holds a Master of Speech Language Pathology from the University of Sydney, where he was a Dean’s Scholar. David is a Practising Member of Speech Pathology Australia and a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist (CPSP).