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Brain injuries or illnesses can damage one or more of the language areas of your brain. This damage causes aphasia, a total or partial inability to use or understand language.

Aphasia impairs many aspects of language, including the following:

  • Expression
  • Reading
  • Understanding
  • Writing

Common causes of aphasia

Types of aphasia

  • Fluent: Speaking in long sentences that have no meaning or difficulty understanding speech
  • Nonfluent: Speaking in short phrases with great effort or understanding the speech of others
  • Global aphasia: Severe impairment, with limited ability to speak and comprehend

How can I get help for aphasia?

To diagnose aphasia, your doctor will evaluate your communication skills by asking you to follow certain commands, answer questions, name objects and have a conversation.

If your doctor suspects that you have aphasia, speech-language pathologists at Rush can help. They will confirm your diagnosis and develop a treatment plan to help you start learning to communicate in new ways.

Speech-language therapy is typically the most effective treatment for helping you regain communication skills and learn new ways to communicate. The earlier you start speech-language therapy, the more effective it will be.

Care for aphasia at Rush

Speech-language therapy is often the best treatment for aphasia. While a full recovery is rare, therapy can help you regain some language abilities and improve your communication skills.

Your treatment for aphasia depends on the following:

  • Age
  • Overall health
  • Cause of brain damage
  • Severity of the damage
  • Where the damage occurred in your brain

Aphasia treatment at Rush focuses on the following:

  • Improving your ability to communicate
  • Learning new ways to communicate
  • Restoring your abilities as much as possible

Why choose Rush for aphasia care

  • Specialists in the Section of Communicative Disorders at Rush can provide you with evaluation for and management of aphasia.
  • All speech-language pathologists at Rush have a master’s or doctoral degree (PhD) and certificates of clinical competence from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.
  • Neurologists at Rush specialize in treating brain conditions that cause aphasia. The neurology and neurosurgery programs at Rush are consistently named among the best by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Stroke is one of the leading causes of aphasia. The Rush Stroke Program has been certified by the Joint Commission as a primary stroke center. This certification recognizes hospitals that foster better outcomes for stroke care.

Departments and programs that treat this condition