Physical and Neurological Exam

Aphasia is usually first identified by the physician treating the person for his or her stroke or brain injury. Most individuals will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan to confirm the presence of a brain injury and to identify its precise location.  

Additionally, the doctor will likely perform a physical and a neurological exam, test the patient’s strength, feeling and reflexes, and listen to the heart and the vessels in the neck.    

Speech-Language Assessment

If a physician suspects aphasia, the patient is usually referred to a speech-language pathologist for a comprehensive speech and language assessment. This assessment is typically comprised of both formal and informal assessment methods designed to examine the patient’s language skills. The patient’s ability to do the following tasks may be tested during the speech and language evaluation:

  • Naming common objects
  • Engaging in conversation
  • Understanding and using words correctly
  • Answering questions about something read or heard
  • Repeating words and sentences
  • Following instructions
  • Answering yes or no questions
  • Responding to open-ended questions about common subjects
  • Reading and writing

Standardized Assessments Tools Used to Assess Aphasia

Standardized assessment tools are typically used by speech-language pathologists to identify the type and severity of the patient’s aphasia. Some of the most commonly used assessment tools are:

  • Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Exam (BDAE)
  • Western Aphasia Battery (WAB)
  • Minnesota Test for the Differential Diagnosis of Aphasia (MTDDA)
  • Porch Index of Communicative Ability (PICA)
  • Comprehensive Aphasia Test (CAT)

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