Aphasia Caused by Brain Injury – Definition and Examples
The definition of aphasia is the loss or impairment of the power to use or comprehend words usually resulting from brain damage. In other words, trouble using words in the right context of comprehending the meaning of a word. This is considered a frontal lobe deficit. It can be caused by the result of a trauma to the head, stroke or infection effecting the brain. A person with this symptom will usually work with a speech therapist.
Example of Aphasia in Brain Injury Survivors
In our TBI Voices project we interviewed over thirty survivors and talked to them about deficits they have encountered due to their traumatic brain injury. The best way to explain aphasia is to give you real life stories of the impairment.
Our example of a survivor with aphasia comes from the TBI Voices story of Betty. Betty suffered a traumatic brain injury when out of the goodness of her heart she agreed to spend Thanksgiving with a college friend who was dealing with a devastating family situation after the friends brother was in a horrible motorcycle accident. What Betty didn’t realize was that her college friend had been drinking before she came to pick her up and drive them both to her parents home some distance away. The drive ended in a horrible wreck that caused Betty a severe brain injury.
Betty was hospitalized for three months. It isn’t clear how long the coma lasted but her memories of the therapy are quite clear. She states that they started therapy even while she was still in the coma and continued even after her release from the hospital on an outpatient basis. The one therapy she disliked the most was the one that did her the most good. That was speech therapy. One of her symptoms of brain injury was aphasia. ” Betty, like most severely brain injured survivors has frontal lobe challenges with impulsivity and impolitic speech. She just doesn’t know quite when not to express exactly what is on her mind. ”
Betty describes her speech therapy and how it helped with her aphasia; ” the therapist would give me a book to read, like a book on the grade school level. She would have me read it and try to figure out what the story was about. I would get confused even though it was a simplified story. The therapist would have me stop and say “what just happened” and she would help me put it all together.” She continues to explain her difficulties with writing and how the speech therapist helped her with this also; “The speech pathologist helped me immensely with writing because I would go from one subject to another without continuity of what I was writing.” To Read Betty’s Entire Story Click Here