Aphasia can be diagnosed by your doctor or a speech-language pathologist (SLP). An SLP can do speech and language testing based on your symptoms. However, only a doctor can do medical testing to determine the underlying cause.
If you’ve had a stroke or brain injury, a brain scan may determine the location and severity of the injury. The brain scan will show if damage has occurred in the language centers of the brain. This information, combined with your symptoms, will allow a doctor to diagnose aphasia.
Immediately after a stroke, your medical team will be most concerned about making sure you are medically stable and physically able to be discharged. You might not receive very much information about aphasia right after your stroke. However, you should receive a referral to a speech-language pathologist (SLP). If you believe you have aphasia but did not receive a referral to an SLP, ask your doctor if you can see one.
The SLP will conduct speech and language testing and give you more information about what type of aphasia you have. The SLP will test the different areas of language: speaking, understanding, reading and writing. The SLP will be able to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are. This information helps the SLP choose therapy techniques to help you improve.
If you don’t think you have had a stroke or traumatic brain injury but experience symptoms that sound like aphasia, you should tell your doctor. Your doctor can order medical tests and also refer you to an SLP. Your family doctor, might refer you to a neurologist for more specialized care. Medical tests can confirm the diagnosis and provide additional information. There are other medical conditions that can lead to symptoms similar to those of aphasia, so determining the underlying cause is important.