Aphasia is a complex acquired communication disorder caused by brain damage that impairs a person’s ability to understand, produce, and use language. More generally, it may disrupt the ability to generate and use symbol systems, for in aphasia not only is written, spoken, and gestural language affected, but so may be musical notation, telling time, mathematical operations, and even the ability to discern meaning from rudimentary sources of symbolic information such as traffic signals, emergency vehicle warning sirens, money, playing cards, and board games. This entry describes aphasia and outlines reasons for proper assessment in the treatment of aphasia.

Since human language is one of the most sophisticated symbol systems people use, aphasia is first and foremost a linguistic disorder that throws into disarray the primary ...

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