A person with aphasia may have trouble understanding, speaking, reading, or writing. Speech-language pathologists are professionals who work with people with communication problems and can diagnose and treat the type of difficulty you’re having.
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Aphasia is a language disorder that affects how you communicate. It is caused by damage to the language centers of the brain, usually in the left side of the brain, that control understanding, speaking, and using signed languages.
Aphasia does not make you less smart or cause problems with the way you think. However, it may affect your ability to communicate your thoughts easily. Aphasia may also make it hard for you to understand, read, or write.
Aphasia can affect people in different ways, and no two people will have the same changes or recovery. The severity and recovery of aphasia depend on a number of things—including the cause, the extent of damage to the brain, family support, and treatment.
Aphasia can lead to trouble communicating, understanding language, reading, and writing.
You may find that you go through one or several of these experiences:
You may have trouble doing any or all of the following tasks:
You may have trouble
Aphasia is most often caused by a stroke. However, any change to the brain can cause aphasia. This may include traumatic brain injury. Other causes may include brain infections, brain tumors, and other brain disorders that may worsen over time.
If you have any changes in communicating or understanding others, consult a medical professional to help find a medical reason. Call 911 with any sudden changes in speech or communication. Ask your doctor to consider a referral to a speech-language pathologist, or SLP. The SLP will test your language skills and will ask you about the problems you have and what you want to work on. The SLP will test how you
If you use more than one language, your SLP will test these areas in each language you use.
There is no medicine for aphasia. Your SLP will set goals in partnership with you and, with your permission, the people with whom you communicate the most. Therapy activities will help you participate in the things that are important to you. Some activities help you improve language skills. Others help you work around the problems. The type of treatment you get depends on what you want and need.
Some people use other ways to communicate. These methods may include using hand gestures, writing, drawing, pointing to letters or pictures, or using a computer. This is called augmentative and alternative communication, or AAC. Your SLP can help you pick the best tools for you.
You may work with an SLP on your own or in a small group. You may want your family to be a part of your treatment. They can help you use the skills you learn with the SLP at home. Your SLP can help you connect with other resources in your community, like groups for support and socialization.
Do you use more than one language? You may communicate better in one language and have more trouble in another. Or, you may have trouble in all the languages you use. Your SLP should work with the help of an interpreter if they do not speak the same language(s) as you.
See ASHA information for professionals on the Practice Portal’s Aphasia page.
These tips may make it easier for you to understand and talk with others. Share these tips with your family and friends.
To help me understand, do these things:
To help me communicate my thoughts, do these things:
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To find a speech-language pathologist near you, visit ProFind.