Language impairment after a stroke is common. Approximately one third of stroke survivors experience challenges speaking or understanding others when talking. A wide array of communication problems that can occur as a result of stroke, ranging from how one speaks, understanding speech, to being unable to talk at all. These experiences are both scary and frustrating for the survivor during the recovery process.
At New Horizons Therapy, we offer a variety of treatment therapies to aid stroke survivors in getting the voices back and regaining communication independence. To best explain our offerings, let’s first explore why language impairment happens as a result of a stroke.
What causes speech impairment after a stroke?
The brain, which controls language, is injured when stroke occurs. If the portion of the brain responsible for communication is damaged during a stroke, the stroke survivor can experience speech impairment. Communication problems can also arise if a stroke impacts the area of the brain that controls the muscles in the face, tongue, or mouth.
What types of speech impairment can happen after a stroke?
A stroke can impact communication in a variety of ways, such as how one speaks, reads, writes, or speech. The extent of the problems a survivor experiences directly relates to where the stoke occurred within the brain and the extent of the damage to the brain.
There are three primary speech conditions that result from a stroke. Stroke survivors can experience any combination of these conditions.
Aphasia is the most common language disorder for stroke survivors. It can range in severity, sometimes only impacting one area of communication. Aphasia can affect how one speaks, reads, and writes and one’s ability to understand others when talking. Aphasia does not impact intelligence. Most commonly, aphasia impacts multiple aspects of language simultaneously.
Dysarthria occurs when the muscles used for speaking are weakened by a stroke, such as one’s lips, mouth, vocal chords, or tongue. Stroke survivors with dysarthria may experience difficulty speaking clearly or find that their voice sounds different. Dysarthria does not impact one’s ability to understand others when speaking or form words.
Dyspraxia of speech results when one is unable to move the muscles required for speaking in the correct sequence consistently. The muscles themselves are not weakened nor paralyzed. Dyspraxia can affect one’s ability to clearly pronounce words or at times, speak at all.
What treatment options are available for speech impairment?
We advise that any stroke survivors experiencing communication difficulties, receive a comprehensive assessment after their stroke from a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT). During the assessment, the therapist will evaluate their language and communication skills to determine the nature of the impairment. Once the assessment is complete, the therapist will create a treatment plan with goals in collaboration with the patient and their family. Treatment plans can include a range of speech therapy exercises designed to aid in rewiring the brain through practice. With effective speech therapy is it possible for stroke survivors to learn learning how to talk again and regain communication independence.
At New Horizons Therapy, we offer a variety of treatment therapies to aid stroke survivors in recovering their voices. If your loved one is surviving a stroke, and is working to regain speech, we can help. Schedule a free 15 minute evaluation today.