Treating Alexia in Queens, NY
Acquired Learning Disorders That Affect The Ability to Read
When most people in Queens think of “learning disorders,” what comes to mind are conditions like dyslexia and dyscalculia (a disability affecting mathematical calculation), which are something a person is essentially born with. Although many learning disorders result from the effects of genes and neural development, in some cases learning disorders can arise as a result of brain injury. This marks the difference between “dyslexia” and “alexia”. Although the two conditions are similar, dyslexia arises from abnormalities in the structure and connectivity of the brain that are ultimately tied to genetic abnormalities. In contrast, alexia in Queens results from injury due to TBI, stroke, tumors, or other causes. In some cases, alexia is accompanied by a form of “aphasia,” a neurological condition that affects spoken language; however, it can also occur on its own. Acquired learning disorders that affect reading ability generally arise as the result of a lesion or other damage in the temporal lobe, parietal lobe, or occipital lobe of the brain. Reading is a highly complex task that involves multiple areas of the brain working together, and the type of alexia that arises after an injury or stroke is tied to which of these areas become compromised. There are two main categories of alexia: “central alexias,” which occur along with aphasias that affect verbal language abilities; and “peripheral alexias,” which occur in the absence of problems with spoken language.
Central alexias in Queens fall into several main categories. A central alexia is accompanied by aphasias— acquired language disorders that affect the ability to speak or to understand spoken language. There are several types of central alexia. These include surface alexia, phonological alexia, deep alexia, and semantic alexia.
- Surface alexia in Queens is an acquired language or learning disorder that generally arises after damage to the parietal or temporal lobe. People with surface alexia have difficulty reading words whose spelling doesn’t match up phonetically to their pronunciation. For example, a word like “mint” or “cat” poses fewer problems than a word like “slaughter” or “thorough”.
- Phonological alexia is in some ways the “opposite” of surface alexia. People with this acquired learning disorder in Queens can still recognize familiar whole words, but struggle to make sense of new words and can no longer “sound out” words.
- Semantic alexia in Queens is primarily characterized by an inability to connect words with their meanings. This often affects speech as well as reading. Semantic alexia is often a degenerative disease, caused by atrophy of parts of the temporal lobe that process auditory information.
- Deep alexia is distinguished by an acquired inability to match the visual image of a word to the memory of what that word means. People with deep dyslexia in Queens frequently make semantic errors while reading aloud. For example, the word “horse” might be read as “animal”, or “diamond” might be read as “shiny” or “rock”. Abstract words are more difficult for affected individuals than concrete words that are easily matched to a mental image.
Peripheral alexias in Queens are acquired learning disorders in which reading ability is affected, but not the ability to speak or understand spoken language. Unlike in central alexias, peripheral alexias arise from an inability to recognize the visual form of a word on a page, rather than difficulties making semantic connections. There are several categories of peripheral alexias that can arise in Queens after a stroke or brain injury.
- Pure alexia is characterized by difficulty recognizing written sequences of letters as words, and sometimes recognizing letters in general. In cases of pure alexia in queens, speech and comprehension remain unaffected. Pure alexia results from lesions to an area in the occipital lobe called the “visual word form area.”
- Hemianopic alexia results from the loss of part of the visual field, which occurs when the primary visual cortex in the occipital lobe is damaged.
- Neglect alexia results from right parietal lesions, and involves skipping or misreading words.
- Attentional alexia generally arises as a result of left parietal lesions. Letters tend to “migrate” on the page or crowd together, making it difficult to read a page of written text. People with attentional alexia in Queens can often read words more easily when they are presented in isolation.