How Family Members Can Support Stroke Survivors
Connect with other survivors. Finding a stroke recovery support group for a loved one may help them meet other people who understand what they are going through. Knowing that youre not alone can sometimes be the biggest release, Bearden said.
Seek mental health guidance. Having a stroke or experiencing any form of brain injury can be very traumatic. There is the initial trauma, and then they wake up and theyve lost the ability to do a functional activity that they did perfectly fine , Bearden said. Incorporating mental health into stroke rehabilitation can help survivors on their recovery journey.
Be patient during communication. A lot of my patients have said that the most frustrating thing is people nowadays arent that patient. Its important to give stroke survivors time to communicate first without filling in words, guessing what they are saying, or interrupting them. Doing so allows people in stroke recovery time to make progress and acknowledges that their voice is important.
Acknowledge progress. It can be encouraging to let a survivor know when you notice an improvement in their stroke recovery. You are there to support them through their struggles and their successes, Bearden said.
Repeating Consonants And Vowels
Now that you are a master of the simple exercises, let’s try doing an exercise that’s a bit more complex.
Post stroke, you may have trouble saying particular consonants. Some people find saying the /r/ sounds difficult, while others may find saying the /t/ sounds troublesome.
So, let’s pair the /r/ sound with vowel sounds. For example, instead of saying /r/, try saying “ra, re, ri, ro, ru.”
It may sound silly, but it will help you overcome the anxiety and blocks that /r/ sounds currently induce. Similarly, pair the vowel sounds of a, e, i, o, and u with other consonants that trouble you.
Stroke patients can repeat this speech therapy exercise 10-times daily..
Moving Your Tongue From Side
Before you move on to more advanced tongue strengthening exercises, youll want to ensure that you can do some basic movements with your tongue.
Here, you will open your mouth and touch the right side of your mouth with your tongue. Hold it for a few seconds, reach the left side of your mouth, and then repeat the exercise.
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Rehabilitation For Speech Problems After Stroke
Recovering speech after stroke requires neuroplasticity: the brains ability to create new pathways and strengthen old ones. Skills lost after stroke, like language and communication, can be restored by creating new neural networks in the brain.
The key to activating neuroplasticity is repetition. The more you practice a skill, the better you get.
For this reason, Speech-Language Pathologists greatly rely on speech therapy exercises to help stroke patients regain their speech. By practicing the skill of speaking, patients can get better.
Speech therapy is not usually easy. Many stroke patients compare speech rehabilitation to learning how to talk for the first time. This isnt far from the truth.
After a stroke has damaged the language center of the brain, the brain must use new, healthy areas to regain control of the function of language. This often feels like learning how to speak as if for the first time.
But even if youre mentally prepared for difficult the road ahead, how do you know which speech exercises to use?
Benefits Of Speech Therapy After A Stroke
One of the most traumatic effects of a stroke is losing the ability to communicate, a condition known as aphasia. Up to 40 percent of all stroke victims have their ability to speak or understand speech affected to some degree. Thankfully, speech therapy can help patients regain some or all of this important function.
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The Challenges Of Stroke Recovery
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , more than 795,000 people have a stroke in the United States each year. Sometimes referred to as a brain attack, stroke is the leading cause of long-term disabilityabout half of all stroke survivors age 65 and older experience mobility loss.
Based on data from 2013-2016, the prevalence of stroke was highest among individuals over the age of 80. However, adults in younger age groups were still at risk.
Having a stroke can also affect a persons ability to speak, use and understand language. Research shows that about one-third of stroke survivors experience challenges related to speech or language. According to Tracie Bearden MS, CCC-SLP, CBIST, there are a number of ways the body can be affected by a stroke that can hinder speech and communication, ranging from oral motor muscle strength to cognitive communication, to voice impairment and loss of vocal intensity.
Speech language pathologists can help people in stroke recovery address these issues to rebuild skills and find alternative solutions. We want them to be functional and more independent, especially with their communication, Bearden said.
Language Speech And Communication
Post-stroke communication impairments can exist together with cognitive deficits or in isolation . Left hemisphere disorders, such as aphasia, have by far received the most attention in the intervention literature, but disorders associated with right-hemisphere damage are also common and can be detrimental to an individuals functional communication. Remediation of communication deficits, to date, is almost exclusively comprised of behavioral interventions, typically delivered face-to-face . However, with approximately 100 h of SLT needed to significantly improve functional communication , interest has turned more and more towards alternative approaches to the recovery of communicative function. These alternative approaches, as with the other common post-stroke impairments, include methods of moderating/enhancing neural activity and/or using various technological applications to support recovery. These approaches have not replaced traditional behavioral interventions, but rather typically have been applied in conjunction with them . In all cases of adjuvant approaches discussed in subsequent paragraphs, additional evidence from large RCTs is sorely needed to confirm positive effects on language outcomes.
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How Does A Stroke Affect Speech
A stroke can affect cognition, speech, and language abilities in a variety of ways.
Difficulty talking or swallowing In many cases, a stroke affects the ability to control the muscles in your mouth and throat. This can make it difficult to speak clearly, swallow correctly or eat. Some people may have difficulties related to language, including speaking or understanding speech, as well as reading and writing.
Memory loss and thinking difficulties Many people who have suffered a stroke experience some degree of memory loss. Others may struggle with thinking, reasoning, making decisions or judgments, and understanding concepts.
Understanding Stroke Rehabilitation: Glossary Of Terms
- Aphasia a language disorder caused by stroke or brain damage that affects an individuals ability to use or understand language.
- Aspiration a swallowing problem that may allow food or liquid to enter the windpipe. This can cause complications in stroke patients.
- Dysphagia a condition that makes it difficult to swallow food or liquids safely due to neural control or weakness of muscles in the throat and mouth.
- Expressive Aphasia a type of aphasia that affects a persons ability to produce speech.
- Ischemic Stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is obstructed by a clot.
- a motor speech disorder that affects the ability of the brain to send messages to the mouth muscles to speak.
- communication devices, systems and tools that can be used to replace or support speech.
- Dysarthria a motor speech disorder that causes weakness in the mouth muscles, which can cause speech trouble.
- Hemorrhagic Stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures in the brain.
- Receptive Aphasia a type of aphasia that affects a persons ability to understand spoken language.
- , ASHA, Accessed August 4, 2021. ASHA.org
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Speech Therapy Services For Stroke Patients
A Speech-Language Pathologist can help stroke survivors with language, cognitive, and swallowing difficulties.
After a stroke or brain injury, the brain is not working as well as it used to this includes understanding and using language. The speech therapist helps stroke patients deal with these issues by identifying their difficulties and providing appropriate speech therapy.
The speech therapist will also aid the stroke patient in maintaining their independence and mobility by providing information on compensatory strategies. The focus of the speech therapy exercises is to maintain or regain these abilities at a high level of recovery.
Speech Therapy For Patients Who Cannot Talk Yet
For stroke patients who have sustained major damage to the brain’s language center, it may take some time to be able to talk again. However, speech therapy can still be highly beneficial for stroke patients who cannot speak yet. Although the patient will not be able to participate in most traditional speech therapy exercises, there are alternative voice therapy options.
Surprisingly, patients who cannot talk are most often able to sing their words. This phenomenon is due to speech being a left-brain function while singing is a right-brain function. Because of this, singing therapy is a highly effective strategy for helping stroke patients regain their ability to speak conversationally.
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Family Involvement In Speech Therapy
For some patients, involving a loved one in the recovery process can be an effective way to improve the results of therapy. Therefore, speech therapists often invite family members to participate in sessions and observe the exercises. Family members are also provided with written instructions for exercises they can practice with their loved one at home between sessions.
The best way to prevent damage from a stroke, however, is learning to recognize the signs of a stroke and immediately seek medical attention when you see them. In 2009, the National Stroke Association popularized the acronym F.A.S.T. to help improve recognition of these symptoms:
- F = FACE Ask the person to smile. Look closely for an uneven smile or pronounced drooping on one side.
- A = ARMS Ask the person to raise both arms in the air and hold them there for a few seconds. Look for one arm drifting towards the ground or weakness on one side.
- S = SPEECH Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Listen for slurred speech or unusual speech patterns.
- T = TIME If you observe any of these signs, dont wait! Its time to call 9-1-1 and get to the nearest stroke center or hospital.
How To Recover Speech When You Cant Talk At All
Now that you understand the best stroke treatment for speech and language difficulties, wed like to discuss a very important caveat: What if you cant talk at all?
Surprisingly, even when a stroke patient cant talk at all, they can usually sing. Thats because language is a left-brain function, but singing is a creative right-brain function.
When a stroke occurs, it usually only happens on one side of the brain . This means when the language center in the left hemisphere is damaged, the right hemisphere is undamaged. This preserves right-brained artistic skills like singing.
Therefore, patients who cant talk at all often begin aphasia treatment with singing therapy. It does not come easy, and progress takes time. But over the course of many weeks, patients can begin to recover speech. Speech therapists are also able to recommend non-verbal communication options to utilize while you are working on recovering your verbal communication skills.
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What Is A Stroke
A stroke is a medical emergency in which the blood supply to part of the brain is seriously reduced or interrupted, cutting the brain tissue off from receiving oxygen and vital nutrients. Once cut off from oxygen and nutrients, brain cells can begin to die within minutes. To reduce brain damage and other negative side effects from a stroke, early action and prompt treatment are crucial.
There are two main types of strokes to know:
- Ischemic stroke: This type of stroke occurs when the blood flowing through the artery that delivers oxygen-rich blood to the brain gets blocked, causing severely reduced blood flow. During an ischemic stroke, blood vessels can become narrowed or blocked due to blood clots, fatty deposits built up in the blood vessels or other debris that has traveled through the bloodstream and become lodged in the brain’s blood vessels.
- Hemorrhagic stroke: When this type of stroke happens, an artery in the brain ruptures or leaks blood, which then floods the brain tissue. This leaked blood damages brain cells by placing an extreme amount of pressure on them. Within the hemorrhagic stroke category, there are two subtypes of strokes. An intracerebral hemorrhage is the result of a burst brain artery flooding the surrounding tissue with blood, and a subarachnoid hemorrhage refers to bleeding in the space between the brain and the thin tissues that cover the brain.
Improvements Can Be Made Even In Chronic Stage
The bottom line, Intensive speech and language therapy is an evidence based intervention for patients with chronic aphasia after stroke. The authors conclude: Thus, our findings undermine the dogma that functional improvements cannot be achieved in the chronic stage after stroke.
Here is our ammunition the next time a chronic stroke patient needs speech therapy. However, remember to try and get approval for high intensity therapy of more than 10 hours per week for at least three weeks.
Breitenstein C, Grewe T, Ziegler TGA et al: Intensive Speech and Language Therapy in Patients with Chronic Aphasia after Stroke: a randomised, open-label, blinded-endpoint, controlled trial in a health- care setting. Lancet 2017.389:1528-1538.
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Speech Therapy For Stroke Patients Near Me
Speech therapy for stroke patients is a type of treatment that helps the patient regain the ability to speak. It may also be called speech-language pathology. The goal is to help patients communicate again with other people, including family, friends, and caregivers.
Speech therapy for stroke patients may be offered in a hospital setting or in the home. A licensed speech pathologist will work with the patient to improve their ability to use words and sentences. The speech pathologist will also work on developing good communication skills.
Speech therapy for stroke patients can help the patient regain their ability to use language in everyday situations, including talking on the telephone, reading aloud, and using technology such as computers and cell phones. Speech therapy for stroke patients can help them regain their independence by helping them learn new ways of communicating with others.
Speech therapy for stroke patients is a form of therapy in which the patient, who has suffered from a stroke, is guided through activities by a speech therapist. The objective of this therapy is to restore speech and communication abilities and swallowing capabilities.
Speech therapy for stroke patients is a type of rehabilitation that focuses on improving speech, language, and communication skills. The goal of speech therapy is to help stroke patients communicate more effectively with the people in their lives.
Exercises Used To Improve Speech After Stroke
There is no one-exercise-fits-all regimen for speech therapy. The speech therapy exercises that help one person may not help another.
For instance, some stroke patients might speak with clarity but struggle with comprehension. Others might comprehend speech correctly but struggle with word formation.
This is where SLPs really help. Through a thorough evaluation, they can make a clear diagnosis in order to focus your therapy on exercises targeting difficulties specific to you.
For example, exercises for aphasia may involve reading comprehension and naming therapy. Whereas exercises for apraxia of speech, which focus on motor control, may involve tongue and lip exercises. These are just a few examples out of hundreds of possibilities.
Therefore, one set of speech therapy exercises will not benefit all stroke patients with affected speech. Rather, every patient needs a highly individualized plan.
Usually, it works best to work with an SLP one-on-one initially, and then to continue with your therapy through the use of speech therapy apps at home. We recommend the CT Speech & Cognitive Therapy App, created by SLPs, because it assigns specific exercises based on your needs.
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Sticking Your Tongue Out
For this exercise, all you need to do is stick your tongue out, hold it for as little as 2 seconds, pull it back, and then repeat.
When youre working to overcome a post-stroke condition like aphasia, it can sometimes feel like youre never going to be able to do even the smallest things like sticking your tongue out again. But really, all you need to do is practice.
Speech Therapy And The Benefits For Stroke Patients
May 9, 2022
Speech-language pathologists play an integral role in stroke recovery. Our work can be transformative, helping stroke patients recover their speech and with it, freedom of communication. Aphasia, dysarthria, apraxia of speech, and cognition impairments are commonly seen in people recovering from stroke, and can be assessed and treated by SLPs. Additionally, strokes can cause swallowing disorders that negatively impact quality of life. Here again, SLPs play an important role in assessing and treating stroke patients.
Restoring speech following stroke
Aphasia is a language impairment that can impact reading, writing, comprehension, and expression. Dysarthria and apraxia of speech are motor speech disorders: the result of a disconnect between the brain and speech mechanism. With dysarthria, the plan from the brain is correct, but the muscles cant follow it due to weakness or incoordination, resulting in slurred or sluggish sounding speech. Apraxia of speech is the result of the brain’s inability to create the plan to tell the muscles how to produce correct speech sounds. The muscles can follow the plan, but the plan is incorrect, resulting in difficulty producing the desired speech sounds to form the words they know they want to say. Every stroke patient presents differently, some experiencing one or more of these impairments while some may not experience any impairments requiring speech intervention.
Assessing and treating dysphagia
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