Symptoms of Aphasia

  1. A symptom is a deviation from normal function which indicates the presence of a disorder.
    1. Temporary condition -As recovery takes place, some of these characteristics will lessen or disappear gradually and others will take their place.
    2. Different combinations - One aphasic will exhibit only a few of these symptoms; another patient will exhibit a different combination of symptoms.
  2. Spoken Language - Inadequate or inappropriate use of language through speech is the most readily observed. There are symptoms of omission in which linguistic units cannot be retrieved or are partially omitted, and symptoms of commission in which incorrect elements are selected unintentionally.
    1. Anomia refers to word finding difficulty. Patient is unable to evoke, retrieve, or recall a particular word. The problem is most evident in the case of nouns, but this may be because nouns constitute a large proportion of a speaker's word use. Some patients, unable to evoke an elusive word, substitute another word, phrase, gesture or use circumlocutions (i.e., they talk around or about the specific word. Verbal paraphasia and circumlocutions may be examples of a more generalized category of symptoms called anomia.
    2. Paraphasias - A paraphasia is a symptom of commission in that it is an incorrect word substituted for an intended or target word. It is the product of a breakdown at a stage of word-retrieval process and is a dominant symptoms within the more general category of anomia.
      1. Phonemic paraphasias also called literal paraphasias, involve the substitution, addition, or rearrangement of speech sounds so that the error can be identified as sounding like the target. Goodglass and Kaplan (1972) used the criterion that more than half of the intended word is preserved. Examples: pike/pipe, kipe/pipe
      2. Verbal paraphasias are identified based on whether there is a semantic relationship between the error and the intended word. Examples: wife/husband; talking/hearing
      3. Neologistic paraphasias are spoken words which cannot be identified as having come from the patient's language. Example: planker/comb; pinwad/light
    3. Circumlocutions - Some patients, unable to evoke an elusive word, substitute another word, phrase, gesture or use circumlocutions (i.e., they talk around or about the specific word. The circumlocuting patient might say, "I wear it right her (pointing to his wrist) " and I tell time with it."
    4. Agrammatism - category of symptoms which include inadequate sentence productions. Agrammatism refers to attempts at sentence formulation in which the muscle is present but the skeleton is missing. Content words, such as nouns and verbs, are produced; but function words such as articles, verb auxiliaries, and prepositions, are omitted. Utterances sound like a telegram (telegraphic speech). Example: (1) Uh, boy...and, uh, girl; (2) Mother, father...making dogs, dogs; a boy, no two boys...and baseball; (3) Its a mother and a father fixing hot dogs..a picnic; I have two sons like this...boys playing baseball.
    5. Jargon - Almost opposite of telegramese in many respects, jargon is lengthy, fluently articulated utterance which makes little or no sense to the listener. It may consist of verbal and neologistic paraphasias.
      1. Neologistic jargon consists of neologistic paraphasias.
      2. Semantic jargon consists of unrelated verbal paraphasias (content words).
        1. Example: "My job was...original...him..concerned that I could tell him exactly what to take, and where to...take it that I could get away to the ...gestures for the conditions of one side...which would give me particular items or discussion according to that. I should have then convolve to the complete asculation...which would give me particulars to tendon, but I am not... not...available throwing back particulars until they were given to me." This example consists mainly of content or dictionary words. It illustrates a tendency for semantic jargon to maintain the syntactic component of language while the semantic component is elusive.
    6. Verbal Stereotypes - A verbal stereotype is a very restricted form of expression as it is used repeatedly by a patient, as if it were the only language form available.
  3. Auditory Comprehension - Aphasics with disturbances in the comprehension of spoken language hear the speaker but have difficulty understanding what is being said. The problem tends to become worse as utterance length or complexity is increased. Patients have difficulty when they are competing signals or when there is a rapid change in the nature of content of the message Patient's ability to comprehend may depend upon the general familiarity of the words used, the length, and informational content of the message, grammatical complexity, and intellectual demands. These deficits include failure to follow an instruction correctly, or irrelevant responses to questions.
  4. Written Language - Aphasic writing usually exhibits patterns which are similar to the speaking impairment. The writing component of aphasia is called agraphia. Linguistic symptoms can be masked by right-handed muscle weakness and by left-handed awkwardness.
  5. Reading - The reading deficit in aphasia has been called alexia, dyslexia. The dyslexias are observed in two ways, either during silent reading for comprehension or during reading aloud.


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