Dysphasia and Aphasia: Examples and Testimonies

Dysphasia is a specific neurodevelopmental disorder that disrupts the development of the expressive and receptive sides of language, while aphasia is an acquired language disorder that occurs following brain damage. They affect the functioning of areas of the brain associated with pronunciation, phonology, syntax and semantics in people who suffer from them.
Dysphasia and aphasia will both cause more general difficulties in interacting, learning or understanding verbally. A pronunciation impairment affects articulation during sound production of the word government (e.g.: “gewernma”), while a phonological impairment affects awareness and identification of sound sequences in a word (e.g.: go/ re/ve/ne/rent? gou/me/ren/vement?). When syntax is affected, we will rather see difficulties linked to the use and form of the language (e.g.: “I did not understand before” instead of “Before, I did not understand”) or to its sequential understanding ( e.g.: Does “The apples I bought should not be used unwashed” mean the same thing as “The apples should not be washed”?). Semantic disruption mainly affects the meaning, relationships, content and significance of words or a message (e.g.: “The sentence is window” instead of “The message is clear”). Other types of acquired aphasia also exist which affect, among other things, fluency, the ability to repeat a message or other functional amalgams, depending on the areas affected (Broca, Wernicke, arcuate fasciculus, etc.)

This is a condition that is difficult to imagine or visualize in ordinary people, but here are some examples of dysphasia and aphasia:

Dysphasia

Dysphasia is a neurodevelopmental disorder that persists over time and does not disappear.

However, early speech therapy interventions for dysphasia can work on and improve the functioning of young children.

Aphasia

An example of Broca’s aphasia induced by acquired physical damage (stroke), where semantics are preserved but fluency, word production and their syntax are affected:

Intervention and rehabilitation measures can greatly improve functioning. Moreover, aphasia, acquired by nature, can to a certain extent resolve itself over time while the brain reorganizes itself (cerebral plasticity). Here is a video of the same young person, three years later:

Here is Wernicke’s aphasia, which affects another more anterior area of the brain and which will produce an opposite effect, where production and fluency are preserved while sematics are affected: