home
RSS
June 24th, 2010
11:03 AM ET

Why am I mixing up my words? Is this a learning disability?

As a feature of CNNhealth.com, our team of expert doctors will answer readers' questions. Here's a question for Dr. Gupta.

From Matthew, Mount Laurel, New Jersey

"I'm 45. Don't smoke, drink. Married since '93. Have 11-year-old sons, both diagnosed with Asperger's but mainstream and doing fine. Over the past year or so, I've caught myself saying a similar word to the one I'm thinking. Talking about pouring a "box" instead of bowl of cereal. Calling the boys down for "breakfast" instead of dinner. Reminding them to eat their "hot dog'"when they're clearly holding a hamburger. My family notes when this happens and it's worrying me. My wife (a special ed teacher) believes it's a learning disability and it's just becoming more pronounced as I age. I did go to speech lessons in elementary school. Does this sound like anything to look into?"

Answer

Language issues like the ones you describe, Matthew, can be relatively innocuous or they may be subtle, early clues about more serious problems occurring in the brain, such as a tumor or infection. You cannot be sure until you are checked out by a doctor, but what you are describing can occur in a brain disorder called aphasia or dysphasia.

It occurs when there is damage to regions of the brain that control language. According to the National Aphasia Association, about 1 million people in the U.S. deal with some form of aphasia. More specifically, your symptoms sound like something neurologists call semantic paraphasia. That is, substituting the word you intend for one that has a similar meaning.

"The word you're substituting is still within the context of the word you mean to say," said Dr. Olajide Williams, a neurologist at Columbia University Medical Center. "Instead of saying 'clock' you say 'watch' or instead of saying 'dinner' you say 'lunch.' Instead of saying 'spoon' you say 'fork,' and on down the line."

Semantic paraphasia is usually due to sudden brain trauma, such as a stroke or a blow to the head. Your symptoms sound different - like they have developed gradually. According to Williams, that would rule out a stroke, which typically occurs suddenly.  And he says that speech problems related to semantic paraphasia usually happen alongside other communication problems involving writing, reading, repetition and comprehension.

In your case, that may or may not rule out semantic paraphasia. What is left are a host of other possibilities. Neurodegenerative disorders, brain tumors, and brain infections affecting language areas of the brain could also be to blame.

Now before you become too concerned, you should follow your instinct and look into this further. Seek the advice of a neurologist, who will most likely give you a comprehensive language exam. The exam involves an evaluation of your speech - from basics to more complex tasks. You may also be tested for reading, writing and grammar to try to pick up brain abnormalities.

An important part of this complex equation is that you have had your symptoms for a relatively short period of time, so if there is a problem, you have a better chance of addressing it.

Good luck Matthew.


soundoff (1,228 Responses)
  1. LbsoZisse

    cialis with no prescription https://ucialisdas.com/ cialis gernic

    May 6, 2021 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. upholstery repair shop near me

    Good post. I definitely love this website. Stick with it!

    https://thewikihow.com/video_AN6bHZNed5s

    May 6, 2021 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Forklift Maintenance Shop California

    I quite like reading a post that can make men and women think. Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!

    https://iztube.ru/video/NRTettsBsZQ

    May 6, 2021 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Kegs Of Beer Near Me

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you, However I am having difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know why I cannot join it. Is there anybody else getting similar RSS problems? Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    https://cse.google.gr/url?sa=i&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Fallbrewsupplies.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 6, 2021 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. JebgEncox

    big pharmacy online best drug store mascara reputable canadian mail order pharmacies

    May 7, 2021 at 00:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. VsRlfdrvqZ

    proquest purchase dissertation essay on money cant buy love homework help powerpoint presentation ap us history homework help

    May 7, 2021 at 02:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Forklift For Sale Orange County

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I found this during my search for something relating to this.

    https://maps.google.ee/url?q=j&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Fforkliftrepairshop.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 7, 2021 at 03:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. veterinarians near me

    I was extremely pleased to discover this great site. I want to to thank you for your time for this fantastic read!! I definitely liked every bit of it and I have you saved to fav to look at new things in your blog.

    http://click.mobile.conduit-services.com/storeLink/?url=http://www.fleetrepairshops.com

    May 7, 2021 at 04:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. rv refrigerator repair near me

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after looking at a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m certainly pleased I discovered it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!

    http://wwqw.you2repeat.com/watch/?v=M8bvF5afHSg

    May 7, 2021 at 06:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Used Forklift Tires California

    https://www.twinbrookcommunity.net/ViewSwitcher/SwitchView?mobile=True&returnUrl=http3A2F2Fwildwestlifttrucks.com

    May 7, 2021 at 06:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Forklifts Near Me

    http://ukraincy.wm.pl/tv/video/youtube/ABrM8rrNxLU

    May 7, 2021 at 08:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Wine Store Around Me

    After checking out a few of the articles on your web page, I honestly appreciate your technique of blogging. I book marked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my web site as well and tell me your opinion.

    http://www.reparan.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.howtobrews.com

    May 7, 2021 at 08:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. GtnbCrulk

    adderall and viagra http://jokviagra.com/ poor mans viagra

    May 7, 2021 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. moving companies near me

    http://privatelink.de/?https://developingprospects.com

    May 7, 2021 at 15:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. motorhome remodeling companies

    Aw, this was a very good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a top notch article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and don't manage to get nearly anything done.

    http://www.ritmoflow.com/?videos=Dance&v=CeCBuXkUcv8

    May 7, 2021 at 19:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. obAeciOWYH

    cv writing service dundee tok may 2015 essay help maths homework help percentages persuasive essay order of importance

    May 7, 2021 at 21:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. mobile rv repair orange county ca

    http://analyticalessay.com/redirect.cgi?query=https://ocrvcenter.com

    May 7, 2021 at 23:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Digital Marketing Events

    Great post! We will be linking to this great content on our website. Keep up the good writing.

    http://www.hitsongs.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 02:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Digital Marketing Consultants

    http://www.sitevaluefox.com/website-value-calculator/show.php?url=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 03:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. xgSTyWFNQe

    cpm homework help integrated 2 university essay service paid essay writing service pay someone to do my paper

    May 8, 2021 at 05:29 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Leave a Reply to togel


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.