Symptoms of Primary Progressive Aphasia

People with PPA can experience many different types of language symptoms. In many instances, the person with PPA may be the first to note that something is wrong and the complaints may initially be attributed to stress or anxiety. 

People with PPA initially experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Slowed or halting speech
  • Decreased use of language
  • Word-finding hesitations
  • Sentences with abnormal word order in speech or e-mails
  • Substitution of words (e.g., “table” instead of “chair”)
  • Using words that are mispronounced or incomprehensible (e.g., “track” for “truck”)
  • Talking around a word (e.g., "We went to the place where you can get bread" for the words “grocery store”)
  • Difficulty understanding or following conversation despite normal hearing
  • Sudden lapse in understanding simple words
  • Forgetting the names of familiar objects
  • Inability to think of names of people, even though the person is recognized
  • Problems writing (e.g., difficulty writing checks or notes)
  • Problems reading (e.g., difficulty following written directions or reading signs)
  • New impairments in spelling
  • Problems in arithmetic and calculations (e.g., making change, leaving a tip)

People with PPA tend to have similar clusters of symptoms. Researchers who specialize in PPA currently recognize three subtypes:

  • Agrammatic
  • Logopenic
  • Semantic