Understanding and Improving
It is our goal to provide you with professional information to help optimize your understanding and treatment of expressive aphasia.
Clinical speech and language therapy has successfully provided quality improvements to people afflicted with aphasia for decades. Although all patients recover at different rates and degrees, one fact remains constant:
Significant improvements are common results of daily exercise!
Here, we will show you how to include intensive speech therapy in your daily routine in order to reach your highest potential.
What is Expressive Aphasia?
Aphasia is a language disorder that affects a person's
ability to communicate. More specifically, it limits an individual's ability to convey thoughts through the use of speech, language, or writing.
It is a neurological disorder caused by damage to the left side of the brain where our language centers are located.
Other Medical Names:
- Broca's aphasia
- Non-fluent aphasia
The term, Broca's aphasia derives its name from a French surgeon, Pierre Paul Broca, who in 1861 identified an area of the brain responsible for specific speech and language function. Damage to this area of the brain, known as, "Broca's area" will often result in language deficits.
Non-fluent aphasia refers to the fact that an affected individual struggles to say more than one word at a time. They demonstrate great effort when trying to speak, thus, their speech is considered non-fluent.
Anomic aphasia relates to word retrieval difficulties in spontaneous speech and in naming objects.
In each case the term refers to a type of aphasia that is
characterized by difficulties with using language to communicate. On the other hand, afflicted individuals usually understand language fairly well.
In summary, expressive aphasics will usually be able to comprehend what is being said to them, but they will have difficulty using appropriate language to respond accurately.
- Difficulties with naming (anomia)
- Sentences are typically incomplete
- Sentences are short and sometimes difficult to interpret
- Nouns are the most commonly used words
- Auxiliary verbs (is, do, have), articles (the, a, an), and pronouns (he, she, we, them) are frequently deleted
- Speech is slow and strenuous
- Articulation, word-finding abilities, and repetition are impaired
- Motor speech disorders, such as dysarthria and verbal apraxia, are usually present
- Verbal apraxia (apraxia of speech, AOS) is almost always associated
- Understanding (comprehension) is usually intact, however, it is occasionally compromised, especially when it comes to complex material
- Difficulties with reading and writing
- Symptoms can range from mild to severe
- Some cases are accompanied by hemiplegia (hem-ee-plea-zhuh). This is total paralysis of the arm, leg, and trunk on one side of the body
Of course, not all patients with Broca's aphasia will demonstrate every symptom associated with the disorder. Symptoms as well as their severity level will vary from patient to patient.
What are the Causes?
Stroke (CVA): A cerebral vascular accident, better known as a stroke is the most common cause of aphasia. A stroke is a temporary or permanent loss of brain tissue caused by a disruption of blood flow to the brain.
Brain Injury: Traumatic brain injury can cause a range of speech and language disorders. The symptoms of expressive aphasia may be present depending on the site of lesion (a specific area of the brain where the damage occurred).
Brain Tumors: A brain tumor can also cause aphasia. This largely depends on the where the tumor is developing. The specific area(s) of the brain that are affected by the tumor will determine the nature of any speech and language disorders.
Demonstrate significant improvements with these effective exercises!
Speech Patterns of Expressive Aphasics:
Afflicted individuals will have difficulty putting together sentences that are grammatically correct. They often sound like a foreigner just learning how to speak English because they leave out relational words, such as the, is, a, and, because, which tie language together.
The most commonly used words are nouns - however, a sentence made up of nouns is difficult to understand.
For example, here is an illustration of what an individual with expressive aphasia might sound like:
"Yeah ... dinner ... uh ... Mary and food ... Thursday ... home, uh ... and bird ... yes."
This example demonstrates a choppy, broken sentence structure using only key words to get the message across.
Can you tell what this person might have been trying to say?
The patient was trying to explain that Thanksgiving dinner, cooked by his wife, Mary, will be at his house this year. You can tell by this example how frustrating it must be for expressive aphasics to communicate.
Speech output is a significant problem for people with this affliction. Effective treatment for Broca's aphasia will focus on improving verbal communication.
Typically, the ability to understand speech is still functional (or, less impaired). Even though they have great difficulty expressing themselves, they are usually able to comprehend spoken language and written words fairly well.
Therefore, language comprehension can be considered a strength for these individuals. That means it should be used to help them improve their weakness, which is expressing themselves.
This is done by explaining strategies, techniques, and exercises that will help them improve their spoken language.
Associated Speech Difficulties:
The following speech disorders can typically occur with Broca's aphasia:
(also known as, Apraxia of Speech or AOS) is the inability to plan oral muscle movement for speech. The oral muscles (jaw, lips, tongue) are not impaired, however, the ability to plan and carry out how the jaw, lips, and tongue need to move to create speech is.
Oral Apraxia: Oral apraxia is the inability to plan oral muscle movement on command. It differs from verbal apraxia in that it does not involve speech. For example, if you asked an individual with oral apraxia to imitate chewing gum they would experience difficulty making the necessary movements with their mouth.
is a neurological disorder that affects the strength of the oral muscles (oral motor weakness). However, the ability
to plan and carry out oral muscle movement is not affected.
Expressive Aphasia and Depression
Psychiatric patients who are classified as "clinically depressed" often demonstrate a lack of brain activity in the left hemisphere. As they recover, the left hemisphere activity returns to normal levels.
When an individual suffering from a neurological disorder becomes depressed, the depression needs to be dealt with as soon as medically possible.
Depression can hinder rehabilitation
Depression can further decrease any healthy brain activity in the affected area (typically the left hemisphere).
The healthy brain cells of the left hemisphere need to be functioning to the best of their ability in order for speech and language therapy to be successful.
As depression lifts, the patient is better able to focus on the more important tasks, such as physical and mental recovery.
Tips for Communicating with a Loved One
- When it is your turn to talk, do it with respect. Do not talk down to the person because of their disability. This happens more often than you might think and most times it is done without realizing it.
Be aware of your words and the tone of voice you use.
- Have patience. Give your speaking partner time to communicate. Let them complete what they have to say. Help out only if they become overly frustrated.
- Use all types of communication. Writing, drawing, or
pointing to pictures are all forms of communication. Use whatever is necessary to get the message across.
- Try to eliminate all distractions while communicating.
- Focus your attention on the speaker.
- Let the speaker know when you do not understand them. Try to ask yes/no questions to figure out the part of the message you didn't understand.
- Speak at a "normal" rate. That is, take your time while speaking. Speaking too quickly can make it difficult for an individual to follow and comprehend.
- Simplify your speech. Simple vocabulary and short sentences work the best.
- Use gestures or body language: Remember that your whole body is used in communicating. Do not think that it doesn't apply when communicating with someone with aphasia. In fact, in this case it might be more important.
Use your hands, head, shoulders - and facial expressions! Speak with passion!
- Stick to one topic at a time. We often go off topic during our daily conversations. This is common. However, switching thoughts midstream through a story might make it difficult for an aphasic listener to follow along.
- Use a variety of
language activities at home
to stimulate continued progress.
- Make use of available resources.
The National Aphasia Association
promotes research into the prevention and cure of aphasia. They
also provide useful tips for living with aphasia and share personal experiences of survivors.
Most Important: Daily therapy is the key to significant speech and language improvement!
Treatment depends on the severity and scope of the symptoms. However, traditional speech and language therapy is the most widely and successfully used approach in treating communication deficits caused by expressive aphasia.
How can you practice everyday?
* You can obtain all the effective language exercises discussed in this website from one convenient source:
Professional Speech and Language Therapy
on DVD and VHS
If you'd like to further improve your speech and language skills by increasing your exposure to professional exercises, we can successfully help you achieve that goal.
Very few resources offer speech and language therapy to adults
after they've left a rehabilitation center.
This fact was the reason why we designed and created professional speech and language therapy on DVD and VHS!
Through a collaboration of certified speech-language pathologists, a series of professional speech and language videos are now available to successfully treat expressive aphasia at home.
These videos provide adults the opportunity to communicate more effectively with an easy-to-use, affordable program.
Help your loved one improve their Expressive Aphasia Today!
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