Expressive Dysphasia

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What to expect

Expressive Dysphasia

Expressive dysphasia affects a person's ability to express what they want to say. This may be through spoken or written words. Expressive dysphasia only affects output therefore; people who have this condition may not have major difficulties understanding written or spoken words.

Speech and language therapy is very beneficial for patients with expressive dysphasia. Speech and language therapy will provide treatment, support and advice in helping to maximise the patient's communication.

What is expressive dysphasia?

Expressive dysphasia is a difficulty in expressing what you want to say. This may be in the form of speech but may also affect their reading and writing. Speech may be non-fluent, and a person may find it difficult to find the right word for something. For example; when describing the television remote, someone may point to the television and stutter and hesitate whilst trying to find the correct word. This can be incredibly frustrating for both the person affected and their family and friends.

Patients will have difficulties with speech production, this means they will struggle to produce the correct sounds for certain words. People who have expressive dysphasia may also have difficulties with the output of language, meaning they are not able to express words at all. Expressive dysphasia can be categorised into two different areas, these being:

Broca's dysphasia

Broca's dysphasia is the most common form and happens when there is damage to the lower part of the brain, known as the pre-motor cortex. This area is also known as Broca's area. Individuals with Broca's dysphasia may not be able to produce any speech; however some may manage single words or sentences with a great effort.

Transcortical dysphasia

Transcortical dysphasia is caused by damage to the language dominant part of the brain. There are three phases to this form and a patient may also suffer additional impairments as well as speech and language.

What causes expressive dysphasia?

A stroke is seen as the most common cause of expressive dysphasia. A stroke happens after a lack of oxygen to the brain and is caused by a blood clot or bleeding in the brain. Expressive dysphasia can also be caused by trauma to the brain; this can be through injury, tumour haemorrhage or hematoma. Severity depends upon the extent of injury to the brain and the amount of time the brain has been subjected to lack of oxygen.

How is expressive dysphasia diagnosed?

Diagnosis will be made by a team of medical professionals, and will include a speech and language therapist. Diagnosing a patient will take many different aspects into consideration and will be done soon after initial assessments have been done in hospital. The speech and language therapist will play a key role in identifying and treating expressive dysphasia.

How does speech and language therapy help expressive dysphasia?

Speech and language therapy helps people who have expressive dysphasia in many different ways. Ideally speech and language therapy would begin as soon as possible after the patient has been diagnosed. Speech and language therapy helps by offering different techniques to overcome and to deal with the effects of expressive dysphasia. Speech and language therapy may include exercises for reading, writing, repetitive speech patterns and direction following. A speech therapist may use the aid of computer assessment as well as standard measures, depending upon the patient's level of disorder.

Speech and language therapy is always tailored to each individual. For example, if a patient has never written a letter pre-diagnosis and has no wish to do so in the near future, writing may not be something to work on. However, patients will usually have a preference and may wish to work on speech output instead.

What problems caused by expressive dysphasia can speech and language therapy help with?

Speech and language therapy can help with the following areas of difficulty, which may be experienced by patients with expressive dysphasia:

There are many benefits of speech and language therapy for people who have expressive dysphasia, which include:

What would speech and language therapy treatment for expressive dysphasia involve?

A speech and language therapist will carry out an initial assessment which will determine the type and severity of symptoms an individual with expressive dysphasia is experiencing. Following an initial assessment an individualised treatment plan will be created, which will be tailored to the specific needs and abilities of the individual. Speech and language therapy may include some or all of the following:

Specific treatment for patients with expressive dysphasia include:

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