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.
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:
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:
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:
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.