Aphasia has about eight specific branches that are more common than others. Aphasia is most prominently caused by strokes and about 25-40% of stroke survivors develop Aphasia. Aphasia can also result from head injury or trauma, brain tumor or other neurological causes. Usually, it is the damaged left hemisphere that contributes to this disorder. The National Aphasia Association states, “Aphasia affects about one million Americans -or 1 in 250 people- and is more common than Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. More than 100,000 Americans acquire the disorder each year. However, most people have never heard of it” (2009).
Wernicke’s Aphasia is also referred to as Receptive Aphasia, Fluent Aphasia, or Sensory Aphasia. When a person is diagnosed with Wernicke’s Aphasia, they do not lose any muscle control or movement involved with speaking. The important ability a person with this disorder loses is their ability to organize and control language content. For example, a person may be trying to describe what he or she had for dinner last night, but instead their sentences sound like gibberish. They can pronounce all of the words in their sentences the right way, but they might be random words that are unrelated. When this occurs, some refer to it as a ‘word salad’. A word salad may sound like “I went tennis blue Wednesday with lunch him yesterday”. To someone who is unaware of this disorder, it may seem like Wernicke’s affects intelligence. This is not the case.
Treating Wernicke’s Aphasia is different for every individual, depending on the degree of the disorder. A person may be advised to speech therapy as soon as possible. The primary focus for an individual is placed on making the most of retained language abilities and learning to use other means of communication to compensate for lost language abilities.
National Aphasia Association. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.aphasia.org/index.html
Lyon, Jon G., & Marianne B. Simpson. (1998). Coping with Aphasia. San Diego: Singular Publishing Group.