Aphasia is a neurological disorder caused by damage to the portions of the brain that are responsible for language. Primary signs of the disorder include difficulty in expressing oneself when speaking, trouble understanding speech, and difficulty with reading and writing. Aphasia is not a disease, but a symptom of brain damage. Most commonly seen in adults who have suffered a stroke, aphasia can also result from a brain tumor, infection, head injury, or dementia that damages the brain. It is estimated that about 1 million people in the United States today suffer from aphasia. The type and severity of language dysfunction depends on the precise location and extent of the damaged brain tissue.
Generally, aphasia can be divided into four broad categories: (1) Expressive aphasia involves difficulty in conveying thoughts through speech or writing. The patient knows what he wants to say, but cannot find the words he needs. (2) Receptive aphasia involves difficulty understanding spoken or written language. The patient hears the voice or sees the print but cannot make sense of the words. (3) Patients with anomic or amnesia aphasia, the least severe form of aphasia, have difficulty in using the correct names for particular objects, people, places, or events. (4) Global aphasia results from severe and extensive damage to the language areas of the brain. Patients lose almost all language function, both comprehension and expression. They cannot speak or understand speech, nor can they read or write.
|American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2200 Research Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20850
|National Aphasia Association
350 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212-267-2814 800-922-4NAA (4622)
|Aphasia Hope Foundation
P.O. Box 26304
Shawnee Mission, KS 66225-6304
Tel: 1-855-764-4673 (1-855- 764-HOPE)
|National Institute on Deafness and
Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, MSC 2320
Bethesda, MD 20892-2320
Tel: 301-496-7243/800-241-1044 800-241-1055 (TTD/TTY)
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892
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Last updated July 9, 2012