A stroke is very traumatic to the body and causes a number of changes that affect daily life. After a stroke, you might experience trouble moving (especially on one side), thinking the way you used to, and even speaking and swallowing. This is where speech therapy after a stroke is critical.
Within six months of a stroke, survivors usually have certain amounts of spontaneous recovery. Physical improvement typically happens faster than communication improvement, but there’s no realistic way to predict what will happen when.
With that in mind, it’s important to work with a speech and language therapist early, because slow communication improvement doesn’t mean that improvement won’t keep happening over time.
So what’s the scope of stroke-related speech and swallowing trouble? About 40 percent of people who’ve had a stroke will have at least temporary trouble swallowing, and about one-third will have trouble communicating. The type of problems depends on multiple factors, like the severity of the stroke.
Speech therapy is tailored to address individual concerns, including the following.
If you have trouble understanding word meanings…
For “receptive aphasia,” you might sort words based on meaning or match pictures to words, among other things.
If you have trouble finding what to say…
For “expressive aphasia,” a doctor might have you repeat what he or she says, put names to pictures and decide whether words rhyme.
If you know what you want to say but pronunciation is a problem…
For “apraxia,” you might memorize patterns in the way words sound and sentences flow to trigger new cues that are helpful for speech.
If your mouth muscles have weakened…
For muscular issues, you might go through strengthening exercises, as well as sessions to advise where the lips and tongue should go when sounds are formed.
This is, by no means, a comprehensive list. If you or a loved one have had a stroke and need personalized help, give us a call. Our doctors offer specialized services dealing with articulation, intonation, word rhythm, speech rate and much more.
It’s sometimes hard to be patient when recovering from a stroke, but our team is here to make the process of speech therapy after a stroke as seamless as possible. Stop by, and let’s get started.