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Difference Between Aphasia and Dysarthria

Aphasia vs Dysarthria

We convey our thoughts through speech and the use of language. We start learning language and speech as toddlers and enhance the ability to communicate effectively as we grow older.

Sometimes these abilities are impaired by injuries to the brain. Our language and speech skills will suddenly vanish due to accidents or diseases that have damaged parts of our brain that control these functions. The most common types of language and speech disorders are aphasia and dysarthria.

Aphasia

Aphasia is a language disorder characterized by a difficulty in producing or understanding written or spoken language. It is an acquired abnormality in understanding, thought and word finding.

Although it refers to total language impairment, it is commonly used for both partial and total language impairment. In some cases, a person can speak but not write or he can write but cannot speak. He may be able to sing but cannot speak, depending on the extent of damage to his brain.

Assessing the extent of a person’s aphasia depends largely on his age, the size and location of the lesion and of the type of aphasia that he has, of which there are two common types: Wernicke’s aphasia and Broca’s aphasia.

The area in our brain that allows understanding of the spoken and written language is called Wernicke’s area. It is the part that enables a person to interpret language and damage to this part causes the person to become unaware of his own speech and the speech of others. So, he speaks in long meaningless speech.

Connected to the Wernicke’s area is Broca’s area which receives impulse from the former and converts it into motor commands. If damaged, a person can still think and can speak comprehensively but with great effort.

A person with aphasia might show some or all of these symptoms:

o Inability to read.
o Inability to write.
o Difficulty in naming people and objects.
o Limited speech, substituting letters or words and incomplete sentences.
o Inability to repeat phrases or constant repetition of phrases.
o Inability to understand language.

Dysarthria

Dysarthria is a speech disorder characterized by difficulties in all level of speech. It affects the tongue, lips, palate, vocal cord, larynx and breathing. It is caused by damage to the nervous system by diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or by strokes and traumatic brain injury.

Lesions will occur in the key areas of the brain and can result in impairment of the muscles involved in the planning and regulating of motor operations that control our ability to speak coherently.

Dysarthria can be treated by using a variety of techniques to correct and strengthen articulator muscles. Speech therapy and speech devices such as text-based telephones and speech synthesis software allow persons with dysarthria to communicate.

Summary

1. Aphasia is a language disorder, while dysarthria is a speech disorder.
2. Although both can be caused by injuries to the brain, in aphasia it is likely to occur in the area which controls the ability to understand language and the area that converts words into motor commands. In dysarthria, the damage is to the nervous system and the parts of the brain that control the person’s ability to speak.


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