Aphasia is a communication impairment that can result in difficulties speaking, understanding what someone is saying and difficulties with reading and writing.
Aphasia usually occurs following brain damage but can also occur from things such as, degenerative diseases and brain tumors. The severity of aphasia will depend on the size and location of the brain damage, tumor or degeneration.
Are there different types of Aphasia?
There are different types of Aphasia. The type of Aphasia that may be occurring can be determined by a Speech Pathologist and include the following:
- Broca Aphasia – also known as nonfluent Aphasia. People who struggle with Broca Aphasia have difficulty expressing the correct words and may speak in short sentences.
- Wernicke Aphasia – also known as fluent Aphasia. People who struggle with Wernicke Aphasia will speak easily, using long sentences but what they are saying does not make any sense.
- Global Aphasia – People who struggle with global aphasia will have difficulties in understanding what people have said and also have difficulty speaking and getting their message across.
What difficulties are associated with Aphasia?
There are many difficulties associated with Aphasia. Someone who has Aphasia may struggle with one or more of the following:
- Saying the correct word (e.g. may say ‘dog’ when they meant ‘horse’)
- Putting together sentences
- Putting words in the right order
- Use unrecognizable words (made-up words)
- Understanding what someone has said
- Articulating long sentences that make no sense
- Slurring their words
How can a Speech Pathologist help with Aphasia?
A Speech Pathologist will be able to diagnose the type of Aphasia and pinpoint the main difficulties.
Following this, the Speech Pathologist will be able to provide direct therapy targeting these difficulties and provide strategies to assist when interacting with others across settings.
Training of the clients’ significant other will also be a focus so that therapy can continue in the home environment outside of therapy appointments.
What will the appointments involve?
Initial appointments will involve the therapist gaining as much information as possible about the client and the type of difficulties the client is presenting with.
Direct assessment tasks will then be implemented to identify the specific areas of difficulty and strength. From these initial appointments, specific functional goals can be created and individualised therapy targeting these goals can begin.