Expressive aphasia is also referred to as Broca’s aphasia or agrammatic aphasia and is one of a larger group of disorders known as aphasia.
A patient with expressive dysphasia loses their ability to speak or write language as a result of damage or developmental failure of specific sections of the anterior parts of the brain.
What Causes Expressive Aphasia and What is an Expressive Aphasia Stroke?
Without oxygen, brain cells die very quickly, and in the case of patients whose Broca’s area of the brain has been damaged, the result is expressive aphasia. However, although most cases of expressive aphasia are caused by a stroke in the Broca’s region of the brain, sometimes a stroke can affect a different part of the brain and still produce the symptoms of expressive aphasia.
The symptoms of expressive aphasia can also be caused by a brain injury, a tumor, an extradural hematoma, or bleeding on the brain (cerebral hemorrhage).
What are the Expressive Aphasia Symptoms?
A person with expressive aphasia struggles with language. Speech is slow and labored and sentences are mostly a collection of disjointed words loosely strung together in a very incoherent fashion. Written language is just as poor.
Some people are affected more than others, and in the most extreme cases of the disorder the patient might only be able to say one word.
But despite difficulties producing spoken and written language, patients with Broca’s aphasia have no problems comprehending language, and unlike some other forms of aphasia, patients with the disorder are fully aware that they have problems with language.
Can Expressive Aphasia Occur in Children?
Although Broca’s aphasia is very often the result of a stroke or traumatic brain injury, there is a type of developmental expressive aphasia that sometimes affects children at the age they first start learning to talk.
The cause of developmental expressive aphasia is not really understood and for some unknown reason, the disorder is more common in boys than girls. The majority of children recover and develop normal language skills by the age of eleven.
Children with expressive aphasia disorder are able to understand language and will be able to follow complex verbal instructions, but are unable to express their thoughts and feelings in the proper manner.
Some children omit functional words whereas others might find it impossible to organize sentences in a way that others can understand.
What are Useful Expressive Aphasia Communication Strategies?
Some patients are able to sing words and phrases they are cannot to speak.
Experts believe this phenomenon is due to the fact that our singing abilities are located in the right side of the brain, and are therefore unaffected by a stroke on the left side of the brain.
Utilizing singing to recover lost language function is called Melodic Intonation Therapy and it can help patients to recover some of their ability to communicate simple phrases.