Aphasia is a type of disorder resulting from damage to certain areas of the brain that are associated with language. It may either have sudden causes like stroke or head injury, or may also have slow causes like infection, dementia and brain tumor. Aphasia impairs reading, writing, language expression and understanding. Broca’s aphasia is one type of non-fluent aphasia and involves damage to the brain’s frontal lobe. This causes not only speech problems but muscle weakness as well because of the frontal lobe’s role in motor movements.
It was named such because its specific area of damage in the frontal lobe is called Broca’s area which is composed of areas 44 and 45 (Dubin). Broca’s area is responsible for control over facial neurons, speech production and understanding language (About. com). Broca’s aphasia is a non-fluent type of aphasia because it entails difficulty with speaking. Those with Broca’s aphasia often talk in short phrases that take much effort to produce but are understandable despite their tendency to leave out words such as “the”, “is” and “and.
Despite this problem, people with Broca’s aphasia can actually comprehend others’ speech quite well which causes them much frustration as they are aware of their difficulties (NIDCD). These effects arise from Broca’s area not being able to fulfill its functions due to damage. Another type of aphasia is Wernicke’s aphasia which is a fluent type of aphasia and involves damage to the brain’s temporal lobe. Like Broca’s aphasia, it was named such because its specific area of damage in the temporal lobe is called Wernicke’s area which is area 22 (Dubin).
Wernicke’s area is behind language comprehension, semantic processing, language recognition and language interpretation (Bailey). Wernicke’s aphasia is a fluent type of aphasia because people suffering from it speak with less difficulty. However, despite less difficulty with speech production, those with Wenicke’s aphasia unknowingly talk in long senseless sentences with no meaning, made-up words and unnecessary words. Hence, those with such aphasia are hard to understand and those with Wernicke’s aphasia have a hard time understanding speech as well (NIDCD).
These effects arise from Wernicke’s area not being able to fulfill its functions due to damage. Broca’s aphasia and Wernicke’s aphasia are similar in terms of falling under the category of a speech problem. However, the two disorders differ due to the areas damaged and resulting effects. With Broca’s aphasia, the problem is mainly concerned with speech production but comprehension is not a big issue. As for Wernicke’s aphasia, while producing speech is easy, there is excess of it and it has little sense. The problem with Wernicke’s aphasia is comprehension. Broca’s and Wernicke’s aphasia are not the only types of aphasia.
One of the many other kinds of aphasia is that of global aphasia, another non-fluent kind. It comes from “damage to extensive portions of the language areas of the brain” (NIDCD). Those wish global aphasia have great difficulty with communication as they may be limited to speak or understand very little. In terms of treatment, it is possible to recover without it but only in certain cases like in transient ischemic attacks. With this case, blood flow causing the stroke would be restored immediately, hence, non-permanent effects that could last for only a few hours to a few days.
However, majority of aphasia cases are not as easy to resolve. Others would find that some aphasia would still remain. This is where speech-language therapy comes in where recovery would happen at an average of two-years and is most apparent when treatment begins early. There are individual therapy sessions that cater specially to one’s needs and there are also small-group therapy sessions where those with aphasia are given chances to discover or try new communication skills. Group therapy sessions can also aid one with adjustment to changes done by stroke and aphasia.