Wernicke’s aphasia is also known as “receptive aphasia” or “fluent aphasia.”
In this article, you’ll learn how to spot the symptoms of Wernicke’s aphasia and how to treat this language condition.
Let’s get straight to it.
What Is Wernicke’s Aphasia?
Wernicke’s aphasia is a language condition that affects your ability to process the meaning of language. Often, reading and writing is severely affected.
Wernicke’s aphasia is almost the inverse of expressive aphasia. With expressive aphasia, individuals have difficulty with speaking but not reading or writing.
With Wernicke’s aphasia, individuals usually have difficulty with reading and writing but not speaking.
In fact, those with Wernicke’s aphasia can often speak with normal speed and grammatical correctness, which is why it’s also known as fluent aphasia.
However, although they can speak fluently, often times their sentences don’t make sense because the meaning can be lost.
How to Identify Wernicke’s Aphasia
Wernicke’s aphasia occurs when Wernicke’s area – a section of the language center in the brain – is affected by trauma like a left-brain stroke.
Symptoms of Wernicke’s aphasia includes:
- Speaking with relative ease
- Speaking fluently with minor or heavy loss of meaning
- Making up words or peppering sentences with irrelevant words
- Having extreme difficulty with reading and writing
- Experiencing trouble understanding words or sentences and their meaning
- Understanding visuals better than written or spoken words
Here’s an example of someone with Wernicke’s aphasia:
Treatment for Wernicke’s Aphasia
When Wernicke’s area of the brain is damaged by stroke or other trauma, the brain can recover from the damage by rewiring itself through neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to lay new pathways and rearrange existing ones. This process happens through practice.
When you repeat something over and over, your brain rewires itself to grow more efficient at the task. This is how skills are made.
In order to rebuild the skill of speech, you need to rewire your brain through practice.
Therefore, the best way to treat the condition is by rewiring the brain through speech therapy exercises.
Working with a Professional
There are some apps that you can use to practice speech exercises for aphasia.
However, the best approach is to get started with the help of a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who is specialized in treating all types of aphasia.
An SLP can assess your unique speech deficits and come up with an action plan specifically for you.
Then, once you get going with your therapist, you can supplement with your own exercises at home, like with those apps.
Overcoming Wernicke’s Aphasia
In summary, Wernicke’s aphasia is a type of language disorder that happens when the Wernicke’s area of the brain is damaged by trauma like stroke.
The condition is characterized by difficulty processing meaning in language. Often times, people with Wernicke’s aphasia can speak fluently but may struggle with reading and writing.
The best treatment is to rewire the brain with speech therapy exercises. Starting with the help of an SLP is a great idea.
No matter how mild or severe your Wernicke’s aphasia is, there’s always hope for recovery!