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Relearning to Talk After a Stroke

Each year, hundreds of thousands of individuals worldwide suffer from strokes, and many may endure speech difficulties as a result. Some individuals believe that those who have problems speaking also have trouble thinking. However, following a stroke, a person’s capacity to understand and interact is influenced by the section or areas of the brain that have been impaired. A stroke may be terrifying and upsetting, and if the patient is unable to communicate their feelings, the stress can be exacerbated. Friends and relatives may sometimes struggle with communicating with stroke survivors because they are ashamed or cannot find proper words. Some believe they can no longer interact with the person they formerly knew. Nevertheless, various therapies following a stroke can assist people in regaining most or all of their abilities.

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The affected areas of the brain determine the particular consequences of stroke. For example, aphasia is a condition that affects how individuals interpret language, whether spoken or written (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, n.d.). Usually, aphasia is caused by one or more damaged brain areas. An individual’s intellect remains the same as before the stroke, and they can think properly (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, n.d.). However, individuals may experience some difficulties using or understanding words.

On the other hand, dysarthria and apraxia are disorders that affect the actual production of sounds when speaking. Dysarthria is characterized by the ability to identify words but not articulate them due to a physical issue, such as muscle weakness (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, n.d.-c). Subsequently, words can be slurred or spoken in shorter bursts. This does not always represent the patient’s mental condition. Apraxia is characterized by difficulties with muscle control (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, n.d.-b). It can lead the muscles associated with articulation to fail to function correctly or in the appropriate order.

In case of any of the mentioned stroke results, a patient must seek help. Speech and language therapists can assist stroke survivors with various communication difficulties. First, they can help patients relearn abilities such as letter recognition and articulation. Furthermore, speech therapists may assist individuals and their families in learning how to use communication tools such as charts, digital equipment, and others (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, n.d.). Finally, they can give patients exercises to strengthen facial muscles and muscles responsible for articulation, which is very beneficial for individuals with dysarthria (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, n.d.-c). The mentioned therapies can be held either individually or in groups. Both are effective since individual therapy sessions can help the patient concentrate on the problem areas, and group sessions can help the patient not feel alone.

Nevertheless, therapy sessions need to be combined with individual efforts along with support from friends and family members. Music therapy, in which patients practise singing words they cannot articulate, is another treatment for language problems following a stroke. Patients may also feel eager to participate in book club discussions, art or drama club activities. In order to regain previous abilities or improve skills, people with speech problems need to engage in speaking activities, using shorter constructions at first and slowly trying to use longer and complex sentences.

Hence, depending on the affected area of the brain, stroke can cause various speech issues. This can involve problems with either comprehending the language or experiencing physical difficulty articulating the words. Subsequently, patients struggling with such disorders as aphasia, dysarthria, and apraxia will need to seek professional help or engage in various club activities involving drama, art, or book club activities. While the former might navigate patients with severe consequences with relearning the basics, the latter might support those struggling and ease the stress.

References

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.). Aphasia. Web.

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American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.-b). Apraxia of Speech in Adults. Web.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.-c). Dysarthria. Web.

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