SEP 19, 2016 02:44 PM PDT

Aphasia: Clinically at a Loss for Words

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Imagine finding yourself suddenly unable to speak a coherent sentence, or understand what is being said to you. This is the reality for about a million Americans who suffer from aphasia - a speech communication disorder caused by damage to one or both language centers in the brain. In many instances, a cerebral hemorrhage (stroke) or traumatic brain injury can lead to aphasia. In fact, about a third of stroke survivors suffer from aphasia.

Aphasia is divided into two classes: receptive aphasia and expressive aphasia. In receptive aphasia, people may use words that don't appear to have meaning. On the other hand, people with expressive aphasia can't seem to find the appropriate word to communicate what they're trying to say.

Watch the video to learn more about the possible treatments for aphasia. In addition, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recommends the following tips for better communication with a person with aphasia:

1. Get the person's attention before you start speaking.
2. Maintain eye contact and watch the person's body language and use of gesture.
3. Minimize or eliminate background noise (TV, radio, other people).
4. Keep your voice at a normal level. Do not speak loudly unless the person asks you to do so.
5. Keep communication simple, but adult. Don't "talk down" to the person with aphasia.
6. Simplify your sentence structure and emphasize key words.
7. Reduce your rate of speech.
8. Give the individual time to speak. Resist the urge to finish sentences or offer words.
9. Communicate with drawings, gestures, writing, and facial expressions in addition to speech.
10. Encourage the person to use drawings, gestures, and writing.
11. Use "yes" and "no" questions rather than open-ended questions.
12. Praise all attempts to speak and downplay any errors. Avoid insisting that that each word be produced perfectly.
13. Engage in normal activities whenever possible.
14. Encourage independence and avoid being overprotective.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
NOV 19, 2018
Videos
NOV 19, 2018
The Amazon's worst enemy
Brazil has a new leader, and he could be the Amazon’s biggest enemy yet. President Jair Bolsonaro has pledged to sell off large portions of the rainf...
NOV 21, 2018
Cardiology
NOV 21, 2018
What We Know About Kawasaki Disease
Kawasaki disease discovered by Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki, a Japanese pediatrician, is a rare type of vasculitis, or inflammation of the blood vessels. It&rsquo...
NOV 24, 2018
Videos
NOV 24, 2018
Bats may Hold the Secret to Longevity
Some bats can live for up to 41 years, and many have a very healthy life....
DEC 09, 2018
Health & Medicine
DEC 09, 2018
Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is defined by the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition (DSM-5), as a chronic disorder tha...
DEC 09, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2018
After a Slight Delay, SpaceX's Christmas Delivery Arrives at the ISS
Three days after the official launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, a SpaceX Dragon capsule arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday with a sp...
DEC 13, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 13, 2018
Biochemical Antifreezes: How Do They Work?
How do fish survive in the Arctic ocean where the temperature is under zero degree Celsius most of the year? They rely on a class of polypeptides called th...
Loading Comments...