Aphasia is a communication disorder. People with aphasia may have difficulty with the expression and/or understanding of language, as well as reading and writing.
Aphasia is caused by an injury to parts of the brain that are involved with language. The injury may be the result of:
Factors that may increase your chances of developing aphasia include:
Aphasia is a symptom of an underlying problem. It may include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
If you have a brain condition, you are probably already seeing a doctor who specializes in the nervous system. This doctor will most likely be able to recognize your aphasia. Some simple tests may be done. For example, you may be asked to follow commands, answer questions, name objects, and have a conversation. You may then be referred to a speech-language pathologist who will perform additional tests to assess your speech and language skills.
Images may be taken of structures inside your head. This can be done with:
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:
Your brain activity may be measured. This can be done with electroencephalogram (EEG).
You may also be given the following specialized tests:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment will focus on:
Options for treating aphasia itself include:
A speech-language specialist will help you:
This therapy may take place in both individual and group settings.
A speech-language therapist will help you and your family learn how to best communicate with each other.
Psychological evaluation may also be helpful.
The most common cause of aphasia is stroke. To help reduce your chances of a stroke:
Brain Injury Association of America
National Aphasia Association
Stroke Recovery Association of BC
Aphasia. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/Aphasia/. Accessed May 21, 2013.
Aphasia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated September 2, 2012. Accessed May 21, 2013.
Aphasia. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website. Available at: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/pages/aphasia.aspx . Updated October 2008. Accessed May 21, 2013.
Last reviewed May 2013 by Rimas Lukas, MD; Michael Woods, MD