What is Aphasia?

Aphasia is a loss of language skills. It may occur if the brain is damaged. This usually happens after a stroke. People with aphasia may not be able to express their thoughts (expressive aphasia) or understand others (receptive aphasia).

Woman with cast on arm sitting at table with therapist. Therapist has cards with symbols and pictures.
A speech therapist may help a person with aphasia regain his or her language skills.

Signs of aphasia

Signs of aphasia vary with each person. A person with aphasia may show some or all of the signs listed below.

A person with aphasia may not be able to do the following:

  • Understand words when others speak

  • Speak in complete sentences

  • Read or write

  • Understand that numbers have meaning

A person with aphasia may do the following:

  • Speak using only nouns and verbs

  • Mix up the order of words in a sentence

  • Use the wrong words or made-up words

  • Have trouble working with numbers, as when balancing a checkbook

Practical tips for aphasia

A person with aphasia can still think, even if responding is hard. Try to:

  • Ask questions that can be answered with a “yes” or a “no.”

  • Speak slowly and clearly in simple sentences. Use simple words, but don’t “talk down.”

  • Give the person time to understand and to respond. Try not to speak for the person unless you have to.

Online Medical Reviewer: Cobbs, Charles M, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Greenberg, Arnold, MD
Last Review Date: 10/13/2011
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

© Fort HealthCare 2014. Privacy Policy:English | Spanish | Vendor Program | Social Media Guidelines
611 Sherman Avenue East, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 | (920) 568-5000