What Is Dysphasia? - Definition, Causes & Symptoms

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  • 0:01 What Is Dysphasia?
  • 0:32 Types & Symptoms
  • 2:11 Causes & Treatment
  • 2:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Danielle Haak

Danielle has a PhD in Natural Resource Sciences and a MSc in Biological Sciences

Dysphasia is a communication disorder that occurs when parts of the brain responsible for language are damaged. This lesson will explain the different types of dysphasia, how they are caused, and what the resulting symptoms are.

What Is Dysphasia?

Dysphasia is a type of disorder where a person has difficulties comprehending language or speaking due to some type of damage in the parts of the brain responsible for communication. The symptoms of dysphasia vary based on the region of the brain that was damaged. There are different regions responsible for understanding language, speaking, reading, and writing, though typically they are found in the left side of the brain. Sometimes dysphasia is also referred to as aphasia, though generally it's considered a less severe version of aphasia.

Types and Symptoms

There are different categories of dysphasia, separated based on their symptoms.

Receptive Dysphasia

People with receptive dysphasia have difficulties comprehending or receiving language. Imagine this form of dysphasia as feeling like people are always speaking to you in a foreign language. That would be so frustrating! Sometimes it can be easier to break sentences down into short, simple segments to prevent overwhelming the person with dysphasia, and it can also help to communicate in places without background noise or distractions. A person with receptive dysphasia may also have trouble reading out loud, whether the material was written by them or someone else, and they may forget information quickly.

Expressive Dysphasia

People with expressive dysphasia have trouble expressing themselves in words. Some people with this form of dysphasia may not be able to verbally speak or communicate at all. Or, if they can speak, they may have trouble finding the right word they want to use or may accidentally use the opposite word of the one they're looking for, or may not make sense at all, but not realize it. In addition to verbal communication, they may also struggle with reading and writing. Imagine having clear thoughts that you can't effectively communicate to the outside world. In many cases, this is what having expressive dysphasia feels like.

Mixed Dysphasia

People with mixed dysphasia suffer from the symptoms of both receptive and expressive dysphasia. They experience multiple complications understanding language and communicating successfully. They can have trouble receiving information and expressing information, and it can effect both verbal and nonverbal communications.

Causes and Treatment

What causes the brain damage that results in dysphasia? A common cause is stroke, a condition where blood is cut off from the brain, causing permanent damage. In can also happen from damage due to infection, injury, or brain tumor.

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