What Is Aphasia?

Aphasia is an acquired language disorder that can result from injury to the brain. Adults or children who have suffered from a stroke, neurological disease, or traumatic brain injury can have aphasia. The person with aphasia has developed normal language skills in his/her life, but the brain injury causes them to have problems in many different language areas. These areas can include speaking, understanding, reading, writing, and using gesture. Aphasia results in approximately 33% of persons who have had damage to the left hemisphere of the brain, and there are approximately 1 million people in the United States who have aphasia. It may occasionally occur in persons who have had a right hemisphere stroke.

There are many different types of aphasia and different severities. Doctors and therapists may classify your loved one’s aphasia to help them communicate about the disorder and follow specific treatment plans. The type of aphasia is typically tied to the area(s) of the brain that were affected by the stroke. The severity typically depends upon the extent of the damage. Regardless of the initial severity of the damage, the person can recover language skills with time and hard work.

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