Aphasia is the inability to understand speech or speak fluently and coherently. Broca's aphasia is a type of aphasia characterized by a lack of fluency, usually with a preserved understanding of speech.
Aphasia, a loss of language ability, occurs as a result of a language problem that arose after normal language had already been installed. This is described as an acquired language deficit, as opposed to a developmental language deficit that primarily prevents a person from developing normal language skills. About one million people in the United States are estimated to have aphasia. Stroke is one of the most common causes of aphasia.
Broca's aphasia, also known as motor aphasia, is a specific speech and language problem. It is characterized by choppy speech and an inability to form complete sentences. If you have been diagnosed with Broca's aphasia, you may notice that your speech lacks normal fluency or rhythm and that you have an indecisive and choppy speech pattern. One of the characteristics of Broca's aphasia is that speech understanding is usually normal or almost normal .
If you have Broca's aphasia, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Difficulty writing complete sentences.
- Speak without normal rhythm
- Excessive pause when trying to speak
- Skipping pronouns, articles, and conjunctions when speaking
- The ability to understand speech, follow commands, and read simple words was preserved.
- Difficulty writing
- Poor ability to read long passages, especially out loud
Broca's aphasia is the result of damage to a specific lingual area in the frontal lobe of the brain called Broca's area. It is not a problem of the muscles, the throat or the mouth.
Broca's area is one of several language areas of the brain. All linguistic areas of the brain are located next to each other in the dominant hemisphere of the brain , which is usually located on the opposite side of the person's dominant hand. Broca's area helps you fluently fold words so that you can pronounce more than one word at a time, making complete sentences.
Broca's aphasia, like other types of aphasia, occurs most often after a stroke that affects Broca's area, but it can also be the result of any of the following conditions:
Aphasia is usually diagnosed during a medical exam. If you have aphasia, your healthcare team will determine that your speech is impaired during an exam. When your healthcare providers perform detailed and specific diagnostic tests for aphasia, they will ask you to show that you understand what others are saying, repeat phrases and words, read, write words, and name objects. These assignments will help your healthcare team determine your specific type of aphasia.
You can seek the advice of a speech therapist. Expect a speech professional to closely observe your speech pattern and how you form words during the assessment.
You may also need a brain CT or MRI scan to determine if you have had a stroke, brain infection, head injury, or tumor.
Some people with Broca's aphasia will recover to some degree without treatment or therapy. Speech exercises and individual therapy sessions are generally helpful because Broca's aphasia does not affect your ability to understand and cooperate.
Your speech therapist will likely recommend therapy to improve your ability to speak. Some therapeutic strategies include listening to a recording of your conversation, repeating and rehearsing phrases, and reading aloud.
In addition to speech therapy, you will likely also need treatment for the cause of your aphasia, be it a stroke, brain tumor, infection, or head injury.
Caregivers and treatment of aphasia
Recent treatment guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association state that aphasia treatment should address beyond speech impairment. The guidelines recommend that treatment include efforts to maximize quality of life and participation in daily activities, and state that family and other caregivers should participate in this process. Family members can have a significant impact on creating successful communication exchanges .
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One of the hallmarks of Broca's aphasia is that people can still understand speech and are generally aware of the problem. While frustrating for anyone with Broca's aphasia, this feature is very helpful in terms of recovery. …
If you or a loved one has Broca's aphasia, retained understanding can make it much easier to actively participate in therapy than with other types of aphasia.