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10 Common Symptoms of Aphasia

Condition:

Aphasia is a language disorder that impacts your ability to articulate and understand written and spoken language. It makes it difficult for you to effectively communicate. Aphasia may happen suddenly, especially after suffering a stroke or head injury. Or, it may occur over time due to a growing brain tumor or disease.

Aphasia is a common condition, with more than 200,000 cases diagnosed each year in the United States.

Speech and visual therapies are utilized to treat aphasia.

Symptom 1: Trouble Speaking

Is it difficult for you to talk? Is your speech jumbled? Is it hard naming objects and finding words? Aphasia makes it difficult to talk to others.

To talk with someone who has aphasia, try to get their attention before talking, maintain eye contact with them, and pay attention to their body language and gestures.

Symptom 2: Trouble Communicating

Do you struggle to communicate with others? People with aphasia need to relearn how to socialize because they can't communicate the way they used to, which is challenging. They want to be independent, encourage this desire.

According to the National Aphasia Association, “Don't ‘talk down’ to the person with aphasia. Give them time to speak. Resist the urge to finish sentences or offer words. Communicate with drawings, gestures, writing and facial expressions in addition to speech.”

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Symptom 3: Trouble Reading

Is it difficult to read? Do you have trouble processing written words that you see, or trouble recognizing letters? Fortunately, there are treatments and products, including apps, that help you with reading comprehension.

According to Aphasiacorner.com, “It is possible for a person with aphasia to look at one word, for example, ‘fork’, and think of a spoon or something else related to ‘fork’. Another kind of problem is to look at a written word and fail to recognize it in any meaningful way. For example, a person with aphasia could look at a written word like ‘fork’ and not be able to think what it means. In these cases, it is helpful to add additional written information, gesture, or pictures, to help reading comprehension. Letters may look like strange squiggles; the individual letters themselves may have lost their connection to meaning. Again, additional information provided either through writing, gesture, speech, or pictures, can help the person understand the written word.”

Symptom 4: Trouble Writing

Is it hard for you to write things down? Due to aphasia, you may lose your ability to write.

According to the American Stroke Association, “It may become difficult to recall the spelling of words, or how to put the words in correct order to make sentences. In some cases, it is even challenging to recall how to form the letters that make up words.”

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Symptom 5: Recalling Words/Meanings

Do you have trouble recalling words and their meanings? Finding to right words? Do clues help you to remember?

According to WebMD, “…the person can hear a voice or read the print, but may not understand the meaning of the message.”

Symptom 6: Social Isolation

Do you want to engage with other, but isolate yourself from others? Because you are unable to express yourself and communicate? How do you perceive your social participation and influencing others?

According to a dissertation by Ruth J.P. Dalemans, “Aphasia is a life-changing event because of its impact on communication abilities. People are confronted with a loss of language, isolating them from their social world, often without the ability to understand the environment and without the ability to express their own thoughts, feelings, and questions about what is happening to them.”

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Symptom 7: Repetition

Do you persistently repeat words or actions?

According to Springer Link, “Repetition is the act of saying or doing again the words or actions of oneself or another. In aphasia, assessment repetition is a diagnostic tool used to classify aphasia types, determine severity of motor speech disorders (apraxia of speech and dysarthrias), and assess perseveration (abnormal persistence of a previously appropriate response) and echolalia (unnecessary verbal repetition). Repetition is preserved in some aphasia types, motor speech disorders, and autism diagnoses, and impaired in others. Good repetition ability is typically seen in individuals with anomic aphasia, transcortical motor aphasia, and transcortical sensory aphasia. Individuals with Broca’s aphasia, conduction aphasia, Wernicke’s aphasia, or Global aphasia typically have poor repetition skills.”

Symptom 8: Building and Drawing

Is it difficult to build and draw things? Aphasia can take away your ability to draw and build things.

However, if people with aphasia can draw and build things, that is a way for them to express their thinking.

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