At Home Speech Therapy for Children and Adults in Northern NJ

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At Home Speech Therapy for Children and Adults in Northern NJ


Can't Get the Words Out? You Might Have Aphasia

Posted on May 10, 2017 at 4:55 PM

Aphasia is a communication disorder that is typically the result of a stroke or brain injury; however, there is also progressive form referred to as primary progressive aphasia, which is the result of degenerative diseases.

Aphasia is estimated to affect 1 in 250 people (NINDS, n.d.). Despite the high prevalence of the disorder, few people have heard the word (unless of course they have been diagnosed or have a family member that's been diagnosed). Like all disorders and disabilities, aphasia does not affect each person the same way or to the same degree. Location and size of the lesion can contribute to the type and severity of the aphasia. Regardless, though, all individuals with aphasia will have some difficulty with communication, which may affect any or all of the following skills: reading, writing, speaking, and understanding. Aphasia does not affect intelligence. This bears repeating...aphasia does not affect intelligence!

Although aphasia affects everyone differently, there is one common symptom experienced by all people with aphasia and that is difficulty retrieving familiar words. This difficulty is similar to that tip of the tongue feeling we all experience from time to time, except that a person with aphasia experiences it regularly. Continue reading below for more information on some of the most common types of aphasia and the associated symptoms.

Anomic – This type of aphasia is typically the mildest form in which the primary (or only) difficulty is retrieving words. A person with anomic aphasia usually speaks in complete and grammatical sentences, but often uses several words to describe one word (e.g., “that red fruit that you pick in the fall” for apple). This difficulty retrieving words is also evident during writing tasks. A person with anomic aphasia usually does not have significant comprehension or reading problems.

Broca’s – A person with Broca’s aphasia typically has difficulty producing complete and grammatically correct sentences and, as such, only uses 4 words or less in a phrase or sentence. The speech of a person with Broca’s is often referred to as “telegraphic.” Nouns are most commonly used in the person’s speech. These characteristics carry over into writing, as well. A person with Broca’s aphasia usually does not have significant comprehension or reading problems. This type of aphasia is sometimes referred to as “non-fluent” aphasia.

Global – This type of aphasia is typically the most severe. A person with this type of aphasia is rarely able to produce real or recognizable words and has significant difficulties understanding spoken and written words.

Wernicke’s – The chief difficulty for someone with Wernicke’s aphasia is comprehending written and spoken language; however, the same person can more easily produce fluent speech. Although the person’s speech is described as “fluent,” there is often a lot of jargon and made-up words. Speech productions may be irrelevant to the topic, as well. Writing may also be affected in this type of aphasia.

Do you know someone with aphasia? Do you yourself have aphasia? Please share your experiences below. 

About the Author:

Courtney Caruso is the owner of Liberty Speech Associates LLC and is a bilingual speech-language pathologist in Northern NJ. She works with children and adults in their homes so they can work on their skills in a natural environment where they are most comfortable.

Interested in speech or language therapy? Contact us at 201-658-4400 or

Categories: Aphasia, Adults, Stroke

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