Speech Trouble After Brain Damage or Stroke?

By AASLMay 28, 2018


A person with aphasia can have problems speaking, reading, understanding, or writing. Speech-language pathologists can help.

What is Aphasia?

Aphasia is a language disorder. It typically happens when someone experiences brain damage, due to an injury, stroke or another cause.  The brain has the left half and the right half, and in most people, the left half of the brain is responsible for language skills. Damage on this side can lead to language problems.

Someone with aphasia may find it hard to understand, speak, read, or write, but it doesn’t make a person less intelligent or less able to think. Someone with aphasia from brain damage can experience other problems like muscle weakness in the mouth, called dysarthria. If you have dysarthria, you may have trouble getting the muscles of your mouth to move the right way to say words, called apraxia. You can also have swallowing problems, called dysphagia.

Aphasia Signs

Aphasia can lead to a number of different problems. You may have trouble talking, understanding, reading, and writing.


You may find that, when you’re talking, you:

  • Can’t think of the words you’re trying to say.
  • Say the incorrect words, like “fish,” when you mean “chicken.” You may also say a word that does not make much sense, like “radio” for “ball.”
  • Mix up sounds in words like, for example, saying “wish dasher” for “dishwasher.”
  • Use made-up/nonsense words
  • Have difficulty saying sentences and prefer saying single words
  • Combine made-up words and real words into sentences that do not make sense


You may:

  • Not be able to understand what others say, especially when they speak fast
  • Have more difficulty with longer sentences
  • Be unable to understand what others say with background noise
  • Have trouble understanding jokes.

Reading and Writing

You may have difficulty with the following:

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