Diagnosing aphasia 

Aphasia is usually diagnosed after tests carried out by a specialist called a speech and language therapist (SLT).

Communication assessment

There are several tests used to assess communication skills.

These tests often involve simple exercises, such as asking a person to name as many words as they can think of beginning with the letter F, or asking them to name objects in the room. The results can then be used to build up a detailed picture of a person’s capabilities in areas such as:

  • understanding basic speech and grammar
  • expressing words, phrases and sentences
  • social communication – for example, holding a conversation or understanding a joke
  • reading and writing of letters, words and sentences

Imaging scans

Imaging techniques can be used to assess the extent of any brain damage. The two most widely used types for aphasia are:

Less commonly, a positron emission tomography (PET) scan may be used to assess the state and functionality of the brain. PET scans are usually only used to carry out clinical research at specialist centres.

Page last reviewed: 19/01/2015

Next review due: 19/01/2017