WHAT IS LANGUAGE AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Language is the collection of words used to convey a particular meaning. Language is at the core of every culture as it is through language that we are able to create the meaning of human experience, thought, feeling, appearance, and behavior. It enables us to create reality itself by substituting words for direct experience.
Language is the way we use to inform the people around us of what we feel, what we desire, and question/understand the world around us. We communicate effectively with our words, gestures, and tone of voice in a multitude of situation. You cannot talk to a small child with the same words you would use in a business meeting. Being able to communicate with each other, form bonds, teamwork separates humans from other animal species. Communication drives our lives and improves our development. The importance of language is essential to every aspect and interaction in our everyday lives.
Within the language (expressive language) we differentiate between:
- Naming: ability to name an object or action.
- Word finding: ability to recall the right word in order to use it in usual speech
- Fluency: ability to communicate with others in a proper way
- Grammar and syntax: ability to use grammar and syntax correctly
- Receptive language: ability to comprehend the others’ messages
Basic functions of language:
Language is the ability to use expressive or receptive language. When we talk/ communicate with others we use this ability, and the inability to perform these actions is called aphasia.
Through language, we: communicate our inner thoughts, desires, intentions and motivations; understand what others say to us; ask questions; give commands; comment and interchange; listen; speak; read and write.
ALTERATIONS IN THIS DIMENSION IN PATIENTS WITH ALZHEIMER’S DEMENTIA
Any alteration in this area is called aphasia.
Aphasia is a communication disorder that results from damage to the parts of the brain that contain language (typically in the left half of the brain). Individuals who experience damage to the right side of the brain may have additional difficulties beyond speech and language issues.
For example, patients with aphasia have difficulties in speaking, listening, reading, and writing, but this does not affect intelligence.
- Difficulty producing language:
- Experience difficulty coming up with the words they want to say
- Substitute the intended word with another word that may be related in meaning to the target (e.g., “chicken” for “fish”) or unrelated (e.g., “radio” for “ball”)
- Switch sounds within words (e.g., “wish dasher” for “dishwasher”)
- Use made-up words (e.g., “frigilin” for “hamburger”)
- Have difficulty putting words together to form sentences
- String together made-up words and real words fluently but without making sense
- Difficulty understanding language:
- Misunderstand what others say, especially when they speak fast (e.g., radio or television news) or in long sentences
- Find it hard to understand speech in background noise or in group situations
- Misinterpret jokes and take the literal meaning of figurative speech (e.g., “it’s raining cats and dogs”)
- Difficulty reading and writing:
- Difficulty reading forms, pamphlets, books, and other written material
- Problems spelling and putting words together to write sentences
- Difficulty understanding number concepts (e.g., telling time, counting money, adding/subtracting)
Types of aphasia:
- Auditory Comprehension: understanding words, questions, directions, and stories that are spoken
- Verbal Expression: producing automatic sequences (e.g., days of the week), naming objects, describing pictures, responding to questions, and having conversations
- Reading and Writing: understanding or producing letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs
- Functional Communication: using gestures, drawing, pointing, or other supportive means of communication when they have trouble getting a point across verbally
SERIOUS GAMES APPROPRIATE FOR THIS DIMENSION:
All games aimed at improving this cognitive area, involve an articulation of knowledge with the ability to do in the whole know-how.
The most therapeutic tasks are those related to occupational speech therapy.
The serious games recommended to train this dimension are the following: