No Words: A Critical Look at Dysphasia

By M. Chris Wolf, PH.D.

Dysphasia or no words. No words for the glorious blue sky above you, beautifully accented by lazy clouds drifting towards an unknown destination that only they can know. No words for the grandiose red mountains of the west reaching for the endless skyward heavens. No words for the vast and longing seas that wash upon the shore before returning to the eternal maritime dance that is the oceans seven. No words for the emerald forests so full of wildlife and spirits of the whispering trees. No words. That is the curse of Asphasia.

Dysphasia, also referred to as aphasia, is a disorder that inhibits the individual's language ability. It can range in severity from difficulty remembering words to complete lack of speech, writing, and speaking skills. Although it has been known to strike younger individuals, it is most common among the elderly, especially after a serious stroke or a long deterioration of the brain due to dementia. Although the individual has difficulty finding the words he or she needs to express their thoughts or feelings, their intelligence is completely untouched.

The main cause for this disorder is severe damage to the language centers of the brain, whether by head injury, stroke, or tumors. The individual may have one of many categories of aphasia. These categories include global (the complete inability to produce language either written or spoken), nonfluent(expression of language either written or spoken is severely impaired), amnesiac (the inability to remember the proper names for people or objects), anomic (the ability to remember names is damaged but relatively in tact), auditory (the individual hears sounds but can't remember what makes them),conduction (the individual comprehends words but can't repeat them properly), and fluent (the individual's language abilities are fluent, but are lacking in content).

Full recovery is relatively impossible. The victim of this affliction will never have as well a grasp on their articulation and vernacular as they had before their injury or stroke, but with the immediate help of a speech and language therapist they will be able to recover a large percentage of their language skills in two years or more. However, if the individual has a learning disorder aphasia such as amnesiac, he or she will be able to learn coping skills, but will not be able to recover skills that are cognitively limited by the disorder.

In all types of aphasia, recovery depends on the individual, the severity of their disorder, their age, their health, but most of all their determination. Still, when it comes to the obstacles faced by victims of this disorder, there are simply

No words.

Also see:

Improve My Memory

Agnosia and Memory Loss

Brain Trauma

Brain Tumors

Causes of Memory Loss - Stroke

For more information about this topic consider these resources:

Children without Language: From Dysphasia to Autism by Laurent Danon-Boileau and James Grieve

Clinical Aspects of Dysphasia (Disorders of Human Communication, Vol. 2) by M.L. Albert, H. Goodglass, N.A. Helm, A.B. Rubens, and M.P. Alexander

Less Words More Respect: My Experience with Dysphasia by Monica Clarke

Return from Dysphasia to Brain Injury


Memory Loss Facts

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