Conclusion

This brief overview of the major acquired language disorders reveals their heterogeneity and specificity. It also highlights the fact that patients may have trouble with conscious, controlled use of the products of language processing, but retain the ability to compute certain language structures unconsciously on-line. Additional disorders, and further characterization of the impairments of the operating characteristics of psycholinguistic processors, continue to be documented in psycholinguistic aphasiological research. Most patients with language disorders have more than one primary language disorder and often have disorders of these processors due to other cognitive impairments as well (such as attentional deficits or problems with searching through semantic memory).

There is no simple, one-to-one relationship between impairments of elements of the language code or of psycholinguistic processors, on the one hand, and abnormalities in performing language-related tasks and accomplishing the goals of language use, on the other hand. Most patients who have disturbances of elements of the language code or psycholinguistic processors experience limitations in their functional communicative abilities. However, individuals with language processing disorders adapt to their language impairments in many ways, and some of these adaptations are remarkably effective at maintaining at least some aspects of functional communication. Time, rehabilitation, support, and a positive attitude can allow many aphasic patients to be productive and happy.

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