Posted on April 16, 2012 - by Nurse Virginia
It seemed that Larry’s favorite word had become “whatchamacallit.” He sprinkled his speech with it. Every time he couldn’t quite find the right word, he would throw in “whatchamacallit.” Diagnosing a language dysfunction can be difficult and involve several symptoms:
- Slowed or halting speech
- Word finding hesitations or problems
- Unusual word order in sentences – spoken or written
- Substituting words
- Using words that are mispronounced or incomprehensible
- Having a hard time understanding conversation even though the person does not have hearing loss
- Problems in understanding simple words
- Forgetting the names of simple objects
- Inability to think of names of familiar people
- Difficulties in spelling
Taking into account what is usual for the person, a problem with spelling is not significant if the person has always been a poor speller. But if the person prided themselves on their ability to spell any word and suddenly they are having problems with the simplest words. This is a significant change for that person.
Larry’s wife Marge was worried about how her husband’s ability to communicate was changing. Language skills may be lost by head trauma, stroke or even a brain tumor. Sometimes language impairment can be caused by a degenerative disease like Alzheimer’s. Marge found that was the case for Larry after taking him to a neuropsychologist for testing, diagnosis and the latest in treatments.
Virginia Garberding R.N.
Director of Education, The Wealshire, Lincolnshire, Illinois
Author: Please Get To Know Me – Aging with Dignity and Relevance
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