What is Aphasia?

Aphasia is a language condition that affects an individual’s ability to understand and express language, as well as their ability to read and write. Aphasia most often occurs suddenly as the result of brain injury caused by a stroke, head injury, or brain tumor, but it can also present slowly in progressive neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s or different types of dementia.

While there are multiple different types of aphasia, many of them fall into two broad categories that are referred to as fluent and non-fluent. The most common type of fluent aphasia is called Wernicke’s aphasia, and it is caused by damage to the temporal lobe. This condition is characterized by an individual who can speak fluently, but what they are saying may be confusing and lack meaning to others. In addition, people with Wernicke’s aphasia are often unaware of their spoken mistakes, which can cause a great deal of frustration.

Moving to non-fluent aphasia, the most common type is Broca’s aphasia. This is caused by damage to the left side of the frontal lobe, which is an area that is responsible for speech and motor movements. People with this kind of aphasia may speak in short, fragmented sentences that lack connecting words such as “but,” “or,” and “and.” Despite their lack of fluency, individuals with Broca’s aphasia are still able to use words in the correct context.

Neuropsychological evaluation is an excellent tool for identifying the different types of aphasia. In addition, it is always recommended to evaluate the totality of brain functions in order to best serve the patient. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms pertaining to a neurological condition, please call our office to schedule a consultation.

Gianna Scimemi, M.A.
Psychometrician & Doctoral Student