Stroke: Language Deficits

In last week’s blog, we discussed two speech deficits that can result from a stroke: dysarthria and apraxia. This week, we’ll discuss another stroke-induced communication deficit: aphasia.

Unlike dysarthria and apraxia, aphasia is a disorder of language, not speech. Damage is typically incurred in the left hemisphere of the brain, and can affect either, speaking, listening, reading, or writing. Aphasia can be broken into two main types: expressive and receptive. An individual with expressive aphasia will display difficulty in formulating or creating language, either in speech, writing, or both. Receptive aphasia, on the other hand, will create disturbances in understanding language, either in listening and/or reading. In addition, a third type, global aphasia, can affect both receptive and expressive language abilities. Aphasia can also occur on a continuum of severity. On the milder end of the spectrum may be an individual who can carry on a typical conversation for the most part, with occasional word finding difficulties. Conversely, a person with severe aphasia, may only be able to speak or understand a few words.

Speech-language pathologists are typically involved in the rehabilitation of individuals with aphasia. The speech therapist will assess the patient’s specific strengths and deficits and use these to devise a treatment plan. Aspects of language such as word finding and organization may be addressed. If the patient is severely impaired, the speech-language pathologist may help to work on other modes of communication, like gesture or drawing. In addition, a device that helps to aid communication may also be recommended.

Have you or someone you know experienced a stroke? Contact us today at and let us find the perfect speech therapist to help improve your speech and language, and recover the communication skills needed to return to your life.

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