Expressive Aphasia: Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery

what is expressive aphasia and how can you treat it?

Expressive aphasia is a language disorder that often occurs after left-hemisphere strokes.

It’s characterized by difficulty producing language but not necessarily understanding it.

To understand the symptoms and treatment for expressive aphasia, read on!

We’ll also discuss how long it takes to recover speech at the end.

Let’s dig in.

Understanding Expressive Aphasia (Broca’s Aphasia)

understanding expressive aphasia

Expressive aphasia is also known as Broca’s aphasia.

Aphasia is a condition that occurs after injury to the language center of the brain – often from a left-hemisphere stroke or traumatic brain injury.

Expressive aphasia is a specific subset of aphasia that occurs when the Broca’s area in the brain is affected.

The Broca’s is an area in the frontal lobe that’s devoted to language production and comprehension. It’s believed to play a heavier role in language production.

This may explain why those with expressive aphasia struggle more with producing language than understanding it.

Symptoms of Expressive Aphasia

symptoms of expressive aphasia

Expressive aphasia manifests as a difficulty with language production and speaking complete sentences.

Here are some symptoms that someone with this type of aphasia may have:

  • Struggles to find the right words
  • Utters short sentences or single words repeatedly
  • Finds difficulty with grammar and using conjunctions
  • Reads just fine but may struggle with writing

Symptoms all revolve around the baseline inability to produce language.

Aphasia Does Not Mean Loss of Intelligence!

People with expressive aphasia can usually comprehend speech just fine.

However, due to their difficulty with producing speech, many people assume that those with expressive aphasia have lost some of their intelligence – and they have not!

If you encounter someone with aphasia, speak to them like you normally would. 

They can understand you just fine. Just be patient as they search for the right words to respond to you.

Treatment for Expressive Aphasia

expressive aphasia treatment

The best treatment for aphasia is speech therapy exercises.

Since a person with expressive aphasia struggles more with speech production but not comprehension, focus on exercises that involve speech production.

For example, naming games are excellent exercises for expressive aphasia.

To see the best results, focus on massed practice, which means high repetition of each exercise. This helps rewire the brain and improve speech faster.

For an added boost, work with a speech-language pathologist to create a custom regimen for your unique condition.

Why Aphasia Treatment Should Be Unique for Everyone

expressive aphasia recovery

The best speech therapy program will be unique for every person, though.

For example, a stroke patient with expressive aphasia might not struggle with comprehension, but she may struggle with sentence construction.

This person will likely benefit from sentence completion exercises and other various speech production exercises.

Aphasia treatment will be different for everyone though, because every stroke is different.

Therefore, getting a customized regimen from a speech-language pathologist or speech therapy app is key to efficiently treating your expressive aphasia.

How Long Does It Take to Regain Speech?

expressive aphasia recovery time

Now that you know that every stroke is different, it’s easy to understand that everyone’s stroke recovery timeline will be different too.

Statistically, over one-third of stroke survivors has some type of aphasia immediately after stroke.

Of these individuals, 60% still have speech problems more than 6 months post-stroke.

However, this is likely due to low volume of treatment.

If you focus on massed practice, you should see results much sooner.

Summary: How to Overcome Expressive Aphasia

understanding expressive aphasia

Expressive aphasia occurs when there is damage to the Broca’s area of the brain, which controls speech production.

It’s often the result of a left hemisphere stroke.

Unlike other types of aphasia, expressive aphasia is mostly concerned with speech production.

The best way to recover from this type of aphasia is by working with a speech language pathologist.

Their speech therapy exercises will help rewire the brain and improve your language skills.