Language is much more than words. It involves our ability to recognize and use words and sentences. Much of this capability resides in the left hemisphere of the brain. When a person has a stroke or other injury that affects the left side of the brain, it typically disrupts their ability to use language.
Through language we:
- Communicate our inner thoughts, desires, intentions and motivations
- Understand what others say to us
- Ask questions
- Give commands
- Comment and interchange
Remember, aphasia does not affect intelligence. Stroke survivors remain mentally alert, even though their speech may be jumbled, fragmented or impossible to understand.
Some survivors continue to have:
- Trouble speaking, like “getting the words out”
- Trouble finding words
- Problems understanding what others say
- Problems with reading, writing or math
- Inability to process long words and infrequently used words
- Auditory overload
People with aphasia are often frustrated and confused because they can’t speak as well or understand things the way they did before their stroke. They may act differently because of changes in their brain. Imagine looking at the headlines of the morning newspaper and not being able to recognize the words. Or think about trying to say “put the car in the garage” and it comes out “put the train in the house” or “widdle tee car ung."