neurology

Has your child been diagnosed with aphasia? Here is some basic information about aphasia and your child's communication.

What is Aphasia?

Aphasia is a language disorder usually caused by an injury to the brain, such as a stroke, a tumor or a traumatic brain injury. It happens when there is damage in the areas of the brain that contain language. For most people these areas are in the left side of the brain.

  • Because aphasia is usually caused by stroke or tumors, it is not common in children.

 

  • There are different kinds of aphasia resulting from damage to different areas of the brain. See below for more information on the different ways aphasia may affect your child's language.

 

How will Aphasia affect my child's communication?

 

There are three basic categories of aphasia:

  • Expressive Aphasia: People with expressive aphasia have trouble speaking.

o      They have to struggle to speak, and may speak only in single words or short phrases.

o      They may lose all the little connector words like "and" "at" and "the" and instead use only nouns and verbs. This is sometimes called "telegraphic speech".

o      However, they usually do not have problems understanding others.

o      They are usually aware of their mistakes and may experience frustration with their speech.

o      Expressive Aphasia is sometimes called "Broca's Aphasia".

 

  • Receptive Aphasia: People with receptive aphasia have trouble understanding others.

o      Their speech may sound grammatically correct and fairly natural, but often does not make sense.

o      They may use incorrect words or made-up words, and often are not aware that they are not making sense.

o      Receptive Aphasia is sometimes called "Wernicke's Aphasia".

 

  • Global Aphasia: People with global aphasia have trouble with both speaking and understanding language.

o      A person with global aphasia may have only mild problems with expressive but more severe problems with receptive communication, or vice-versa.

o      A person with global aphasia may speak very little or not at all. They may not understand anything that is said to them.

More about Aphasia:

  • People with aphasia may also have trouble with reading and writing; reading and writing are often more severely affected than speech.

 

Will my child recover?

 

The brain injuries that cause aphasia vary widely, and aphasia may be mild or severe. Some people make a full recovery. Others must develop strategies to cope with ongoing communication difficulties. Though children are sometimes more likely than adults to recover language skills following brain injuries, every case is different. Your child's team of medical professionals will be able to tell you more about what to expect.

Having a child with aphasia can be painful and difficult for family members and caregivers. Speech therapy should be designed to support both you and your child. Your speech therapist can help you understand your child's communication difficulties, and provide strategies and support for the best possible communication.

 

Where can I find more information about Aphasia?

Follow the links below to find more in-depth information about Aphasia:

http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/pages/aphasia.aspx#who

http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/Aphasia.htm