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Difference Between Aphasia and Apraxia

Aphasia vs. Apraxia

Bad things happen to even the best of people; to people who don’t deserve it. Take for example brain damage. No one wants to hear the news that may have some form of brain damage.

Indeed, any form of brain damage is no small matter. The brain is the most important organ in the human body and anatomically, it plays the very crucial role in ensuring that the body works. It is the ‘supervisor’ that commands every other organ to function correctly, even when you sleep. But with damage to certain parts of your brain, your overall body function is in jeopardy.

Take for example cerebrum damage. The cerebrum occupies 85% of the brain making it its biggest part. Because of its heavy weight, it carries out most of the brain’s duties; i.e. thinking. It is the main control centre, the office where voluntary muscles are given permission or signals to move. Your physical activities, such as dancing, running, lifting the spoon and fork and opening your mouth to receive food or make a sound are controlled by none other than the cerebrum.

There are a lot of factors that inhibit the cerebrum and other parts of the brain from functioning well. These factors include brain tumor, stroke, or brain injury. Damage to the cerebrum could result in what experts call language disorder and disorder of motor planning. Language disorder is known as aphasia, while the disorder in motor planning is termed apraxia. But don’t get confused. Aphasia and apraxia are two different medical terms but stem from the same cause: brain damage. Perhaps the reason why the two are often confused with each other is because they involves a person’s language production and comprehension. To help you better distinguish between the two, here are some more differences.

Aphasia, comes from the Greek word ‘aphatos’, which means ‘speechless.’ It is what the experts identify as a language disorder caused by lesions on the left hemisphere of the brain: the Wernicke’s area, the Broca’s area, and the neural paths that come between these areas. The Left hemisphere is where most people’s ability to comprehend language and produce them is found. Although other people have their language production and comprehension on the right hemisphere, which means the language disorder is and can be caused by factors such as brain injury, brain tumor, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, hemorrhaging, migraine, and epilepsy.

Aphasia is further broken down into four major types. The first of these is expressive aphasia where you know what you want to say but there is a difficulty speaking or writing what you are thinking. The second type of Aphasia is receptive aphasia where you can hear what is being said and you can see them through your eyes but you have difficulty understanding what it is. The third category is anomic aphasia where you have difficulty naming objects or using the correct terms for everything. Finally there is global aphasia where you have no comprehension at all and you can’t channel what you want to say either through writing or speaking.

Apraxia comes from a combination of the Greek words ‘praxia’ meaning act, deed or work, and the privative a meaning without. Apraxia is generally a disorder of motor planning which is caused by damage in the cerebrum. It is characterized by the loss of your ability to perform and execute movements. There are different types of apraxia but the most common is the buccofacial apraxia. This results in the inability to perform facial movements such as coughing, winking, licking your lips or even whistling. Other types of apraxia related to language production and comprehensions are: ideomotor apraxia where the sufferer has a hard time executing movements in response to verbal commands and verbal apraxia where the sufferer has a hard time co-ordinating his mouth in order to speak.



Aphasia and Apraxia are two different medical conditions that stem from damage to certain parts of the brain.

Aphasia is a language disorder while Apraxia is a disorder of motor planning.

Aphasia is difficulty in comprehending and producing languages, while Apraxia is difficulty in responding to certain commands.

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