types of aphasia

What are the Different Types of Aphasia?

Part of Aphasia Awareness Month is bringing general information about aphasia to the public. The general public often doesn’t know that there are many types of aphasia, each presenting differently and helped by different types of therapy or communication tips. We’ve created a succinct, shareable guide to several types of aphasia. These are the most common categories but not the only kinds of aphasia.

types of aphasia

Broca’s Aphasia

It takes a lot of effort to say words or string together sentences. A person with Broca’s aphasia may only be able to say three or four words at a time. People with this kind of aphasia have limited vocabulary and trouble finding the words they want to use. At the same time, people with Broca’s aphasia tend to understand speech. Broca’s aphasia is sometimes called “non-fluent aphasia.”

Sarah Scott and her mother have made many videos in the years following her stroke, but this is an earlier one that highlights Broca’s aphasia:

Wernicke’s Aphasia

Speaking isn’t difficult; in fact, the words pour out of the mouth with ease. The problem is that the person isn’t forming coherent words, or those words aren’t coming together into coherent sentences. Wernicke’s aphasia also affects reading and writing. Wernicke’s aphasia is sometimes called “fluent aphasia.”

An example of Wernicke’s aphasia:

Anomic Aphasia

People with anomic aphasia can’t find the words they want to use, and this is particularly true when trying to come up with the correct noun or verb. They get around the missing words by using many other similar words or filling in the blank spaces with vague fillers like “stuff” or “thing.” People with anomic aphasia understand speech and they can usually read, but you see the same difficulties in finding the right word in their writing.

Here is an example of anomic aphasia, using a therapy technique to come up with the correct word:

Global Aphasia

This is the most severe form of aphasia. People with global aphasia cannot speak many words and sometimes don’t understand speech. They cannot read or write. People may have global aphasia for a short period of time following a brain injury or stroke, and then move into a different type of aphasia as their brain health begins to improve.

This video shows an example of global aphasia following a stroke:

Primary Progressive Aphasia

Primary Progressive Aphasia is actually a form of dementia where people lose the ability to speak, write, and read over time. It’s a gradual loss of language, moving from subtle to severe when in advance stages.

This video shows a man with primary progressive aphasia, 2.5 years after his diagnosis:

These are just five kinds of aphasia, and you can read more aphasia definitions here.

Comments

19 Comments

  • Damian
    June 22, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Yep, thanks for the description. I’m three years post accident and have a TBI. Broca’s sounds right for me. Particularly when I’m in a social setting, I believe it gets worse when I’m stressed or flooded. I don’t know how to get help. I just isolate myself to cope.who can help me?

  • Anonymous
    June 23, 2017 at 2:34 am

    Good clear description of this problem.
    Clear and concise and easy to read.
    Thankyou.😊

  • Christine Hauser
    June 26, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    I can appreciate all of the videos in describing the different types of aphasia. But, as an RN, I am extremely uncomfortable with the final video. The asker of the questions will NOT accept his answer of “I don’t know” long after it is extremely uncomfortable for the patient and for me as well. I understand the need to push patients out of their comfort zone so as to assist them with improving. However, the last type is a progressive type of aphasia. Likely, this type is only going to become worse. The patient is made to feel so uncomfortable with his lack of the “right” information that he literally keeps trying to escape by retreating into another room. When is enough, enough!

  • Ben
    June 28, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    My wife was diagnosed with PPA in 2014 and has become non conversant. She can say no which may mean no or yes. I am curious to know about the next stages to expect with her condition. She is at home and has a sitter to give me time to teach and run errands. She has a healthy appetite and no digestive problems.

  • Anonymous
    July 12, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    2 thoughts::
    I read that people who have had strokes – singing may help them to regain speech or partial speech, I had a friend who tried this & it helped him.
    A form of dementia or aphasia or dyslexia ?
    l will be talking but cannot recall the term or name of someone or thing.
    l’ve found that forgetting about the name/term is the easiest way to recall it.
    l will go on to something else & eventually the name/term will pop up in my mind. it may take several minutes or days.
    l do have minor dyslexia in which l transpose words, numbers dates like switching to reading the sentence backwards or date like 1492 as 1942. Same with money. l write checks for an even amount only, 10, 20, 30 etc.
    Needless to say i am terrible with dates, and spelling.
    Knowing about it l can correct for it, but have found out that if l am tired or stressed is not the time to read or balance my checkbook.
    Any thoughts?

  • dennis
    July 12, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    2 thoughts::
    I read that people who have had strokes – singing may help them to regain speech or partial speech, I had a friend who tried this & it helped him.
    A form of dementia or aphasia or dyslexia ?
    l will be talking but cannot recall the term or name of someone or thing.
    l’ve found that forgetting about the name/term is the easiest way to recall it.
    l will go on to something else & eventually the name/term will pop up in my mind. it may take several minutes or days.
    l do have minor dyslexia in which l transpose words, numbers dates like switching to reading the sentence backwards or date like 1492 as 1942. Same with money. l write checks for an even amount only, 10, 20, 30 etc.
    Needless to say l am terrible with dates, and spelling.
    Knowing about it l can correct for it, but have found out that if l am tired or stressed is not the time to read or balance my checkbook.
    l’ve also found that when l’m having trouble trying to remember a name or how to do something, l will think about it before going to sleep and in the morning the solution will be there.
    Any thoughts?
    Thank You.
    P.S. l tend to ramble in my thoughts.

  • carolann
    December 15, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Receptive aphasia was not mentioned! I can speak…although have some issues with nouns…..but cannot understand words, especially when people speak fast!

  • James
    February 14, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Methinks mine is broca’s…The one thing I’ve noticed though is it gets particularly difficult when under duress. My throat gets really parched, voice lacks clarity, speaking a full sentence takes too much effort. Other times I’m good as new!I’m beginning to think it’s some sort of hormonal imbalance resulting from the brain injury i got

  • Serenity Green
    May 16, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    13 year old Author and … used to be excellent reader?
    I am writing books and I use the word stuff and things and I do say um and other thin- see?
    I really think I may have this… at least in reading, or it is happening.
    I am really having problems reading, I can’t understand single words sometimes and I
    replace words with others and I mistake them so.. well.. It sucks, I’m literally trying to read
    and do my homework, but I’m having trouble.
    (I have NEVER had a stroke)
    (my email doesn’t work because of it is blocked right now at my school so.. um.. I dunno,
    I have a wattpad?… SoulshifterXerwrath…? If anyone wants to message me, then..)
    But I am having major problems.

  • Linda Gray
    June 15, 2018 at 11:09 am

    I won’t classify my husband’s aphasia except to say that he has expressive and receptive issues. After months of speech therapy he had made a great deal of progress before it leveled off and we accepted the condition and were adjusting to it. About three months later our family was hit with a devastating crisis and it set my husband’s progress back a great deal. Because of the stress of the situation he is having trouble finding the correct words again, is misusing pronouns, and his entire thought process has been compromised. He becomes agitated quickly and does not understand verbal commands as well as he did before. I have reached out to his former speech therapist to ask if this is a temporary setback or if will be permanent. She was unable to answer that question and could not find a colleague who could either. The family crisis will continue for months and I see my husband losing more ground every few days. Can anyone shed some light on this? I do not know what to do to help my husband other than keep details of the crisis from him. He knows very little but he obsesses over it day and night. His focus has greatly diminished and it is obvious he is depressed about it. He is eating less and sleeping more. His heart is breaking because of the crisis and mine is too, in addition to it breaking over what is happening to him. Please, please, please…if anyone can offer a suggestion I want to hear it. Thank you

  • Kaspar
    July 28, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Your means of telling everything in this article is genuinely pleasant, all be able to without difficulty
    know it, Thanks a lot.

  • Denise
    October 24, 2018 at 9:12 am

    After reviewing the video of the gentleman with global aphasia, he seems to understand question, but can’t remember names but he does have mostly clear speech .
    My husband has global aphasia and after 7 years of speech therapy he can say 3 single words, understands about 40% of what’s being said, can’t read or write, doesn’t know body parts or use a phone.. can’t be left alone at all, short term memory, apraxia… so I really don’t understand how this gentleman has global aphasia and my husband is labeled globa aphasia.. my husband has severe expressive and receptive issues.

  • Jacqueline Gentry
    January 21, 2019 at 3:28 am

    I have I believe ANOMIC APHASIA. I also speak Sign Language, when searching for a specific word I will, when around only Husband now,Start SIGNING the noun I’m searching for? Unfortunately he doesn’t understand Sign Language! I wonder if since it’s a KINESTHETIC Language there’s a different part of the BRAIN at work? Also could this help Therapists?

  • hi
    January 24, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    Fine way of explaining, and good post to take information regarding
    my presentation topic, which i am going to present in university.

  • Cindi
    February 27, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    My husband has global aphasia and apraxia. Almost 5 years post stroke. His spontaneous speech continues to improve, but man, the apraxia is a bummer.

  • Zina
    March 5, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    Ok, so what aphasia does my husband have?
    Post stroke 18months , the stage we are at is he can read (badly) using memory and visualisation but often guesses wrong. He cannot write anything that makes sense but will spell most of the words correctly and maybe one word in a 4 word sentence will apply correctly.
    He can’t remember the sounds of the alphabet and sometimes the letters get muddled too, despite doing them a zillion times. He has to remember the picture associated first.
    He is better with numbers and can add and subtract faster than me.
    His speech is fantastic , only very very slight muddling , not noticeable.
    Left handed, most probably in the 5% of population where the language is in a different place?
    Any advice greatfully accepted.

  • Lea McIntyre
    March 11, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    My husband’s aphasia is much more severe than these. It is a combination of Wernicks and Global. Nouns are a complete loss. Word salad does not even begin to describe it. He uses nonsensical words to fill in the blanks which can take up 70% of sentences. His comprehension and ability to carry out a conversation is minimal unless you simplify words, speak slowly and clearly, eliminate extra words used to flesh out a sentence, limit choices to two and clearly define subject changes. Otherwise you could be talking politics and he is still stuck on weather. He has no concept of the passage of time or the value of money.

    Coming up to 3 years and improvement is becoming less and less. No SLP or OT in our province seem to know what to do to help. They have abandoned us. For 3 years I have been wife, therapist, teacher, maid and babysitter… our relationship has changed from husband/wife to patient/caregiver, I am burning out and need the “Professionals” to BE professional and take over with his therapies. Sorry.. just venting.

  • Sarah Jean Williams
    April 6, 2019 at 11:51 am

    I have a birth injury resulting from head trauma that is only occasionally talked about. I am also a survivor of domestic violence. I am hard of hearing and have dyslexia with a lense in front. Can the lense cause aphasia? The Army said so in 1993. Michigan is refusing to acknowledge this part of my treatment and my records have to be approved through my former husband who I am permanently estranged from. How do I get my notes from the Army and the Doctor that birthed me on this issue? Do I have to go back that far? Or can I just ask them to check my comptroller’s records. I had a doctor explain that part to me.

  • Barbara Bofkin
    May 15, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    My husband suffered a fall from the loft which is believed to be a trigger of TIAS though he didn’t have an MRI at the time 2 years later he did and all it shows is “ moderate ischaemia. He had a lot of speech therapy which gave him confidence but now we believe it has turned to PPA. HE he understands most things including TV and talking books which he loves. Keeps fit at the gym but cognitive issues are now arising. We were advised to try Hyper-Baric oxygen which is usually for MS He goes once a weeks and it makes him feel more mentally alert. I hope this gives some advice to others if anyone want to give us advice or any suggestions we would be great we live in london UK. I know of no Aphasia support groups. Would love to hear from any other carers of physicians
    Blessings to all

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