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Aphemia is a medical condition characterized by an impaired capacity to communicate or articulate ideas. Humans generally have four communication modalities, i.e. by verbal expression, reading and writing, auditory comprehension, and functional communication. If any of these is impaired, the individual is described as aphemic. For example, the capacity to express ideas by spoken words is lost while the capacity to express in written words is retained. There are cases wherein both of these capacities are lost. However, it does not implicate a deficit in intelligence. Aphemia is caused by a brain injury (e.g. damage caused by stroke, head trauma, or brain tumor) that eventuates to impaired language cognition. More examples of aphemia are as follows:(1)

  • Replacing words with an unrelated word, like "radio" for "ball"
  • Difficulty in thinking of words to convey
  • Switching word sounds, e.g. "wish dasher" for "dishwasher"
  • Difficulty in comprehending what has been said, especially when spoken fast
  • Reading difficulties
  • Spelling difficulties
  • Number difficulties, e.g. trouble in telling time or counting money


  1. Aphasia. (2009). Retrieved from Asha.org website: https://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/Aphasia/

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