Aphasia | Plan | Journey | Fun! | Prisoner | Word | Stories | Resources | Legal | Me


What's the difference between aphasia or dysphasia?

Honestly, nothing. There are a few books or pages that will say that dysphasia is about temporary or partial communication problems, wherein the aphasia is permanent and totally disability. The scientists or perhaps some doctors can talk about the difference, but most do not. Almost every aphasia book, website or anything else says it is exactly the same...so we will assume that it is. The difference is...nothing.

For those afflicted, can family or friends help?

The answer is...perhaps. Most people cannot tell them how to communicate better. That takes a professional to do that, but family and friends can help to make life better for someone afflicted. Help people by repeating the content or sentences clearly: use short, uncomplicated sentences: minimize distractions, including stop having several people talking at the same time. Try to have a normal, natural conversation, but trying to "slow down" the conversation. Include conversations as often as possible. Try not to correct the speech or the words unless the person asks for help. Most importantly, let them have enough time to talk.

Can someone that has aphasia return to their job:

Sometimes, but typically...no. Most positions require "normal" communication capabilities and those afflicted cannot anymore. Some may, overtime, be able to communicate good enough to go back to the same position, but typically this does not happen. Most afflicted will never work in the same positions again. Statistically, the highest percentage of those afflicted will never work again.

How long does it take to recover from aphasia?

Just one lifetime! Yes, a small percentage of afflicted will recover completely in the next two or three months, but most do not. Some people continue to improve over a period of years, but this is atypical and for those do it is a slow process. For those that do continue to improve it usually involves family or therapists or both, and this may take years. The current and typical therapies do not continue for too many months and most afflicted also stop working after two or three months.

To "recover" from aphasia is not impossible, but it is unfeasible. For those afflicted, it is better to think about improve instead of recover. The highest percentage of people will have aphasia "forever". At best, some may improve faster or better or both, but, eventually, they will still have to "find" a word or change a noun to be able to communicate properly. Most professionals will say that aphasia if forever and will not "recover" from aphasia completely.

Does aphasia affect a person's intelligence?

No. Not at all. A person with aphasia may have difficulty retrieving words, names or number, but the person's intelligence is basically intact. Thoughts, concepts, ideas or everything else is intact, but the communication systems are disrupted. There are other communication disabilities, for example Alzheimer's, cannot access the mental process but this is not true for aphasia. The intelligence is solid and works fine, but, unfortunately, others assume that they are retarded or worse.

Is this a disease?

No. Aphasia is created because the blood to the brain had been blocked, typically for only a few minutes. Most have had a stroke, but there are other reasons to create it, like an injury to the brain.

How much time will someone have to stop getting the aphasia?

It doesn't work that way. It occurs without warning. A stroke, a tumor or brain injury can suddenly thrust a person into a strange land, inability to communicate. There is no way to "stop" an aphasia impairment.

Is aphasia something new?

No. The ancient Greeks noticed that brain damage could cause "something", but they didn't give it a name, Centuries later, in 1836, Marc Dax reported that all of these patients had damage to the left side of the brain, and a quarter century later in 1861, Paul Broca described a patient who could say only one word had damage to a part of the frontal cortex. In 1876 Karl Wernicke found that damage to a different part of the brain also caused language problems.

It appears that damage to the brain has always been around, but it's only been since the early 1800's that found a connection from the damage and communication system problems.

Carl Wernicke, German neurologist and psychiatrist, born in Poland in 1848 and died in 1905.

He completed his basic medical education being conferred doctor of medicine at Breslau in 1870, with undergoing specialist training in psychiatry.

Wernicke was only 26 years old when he published a book in which he frist described sensory aphasia. In his book he tried to relate the various aphasias to impaired psychic processes in different regions of the brain.

His published a volume on aphasia which vaulted him into international fame. It his precise analysis paralleling the clinical picture. He is best known for his work on sensory aphasia, and bears his name.

"There is a tiny part of our brain that "talks" to us. In fact, the area that Wernicke's area is one of the key essences that make us human. It 'reads" to us before we can talk"

(From H Bernard Wechsler, senior educational consultant, with Long Island University.)

The Invisible Disability: More Q&A