Stroke survivors who have lost the ability to speak can regain their speaking skills through post-stroke speech therapy. Stroke survivors who have problems with swallowing should seek out a specialist for assistance.
The process for speech therapy varies depending on the type of stroke survivor you are treating. Some people will need to use a voice prosthesis (a device that simulates a human voice). Others may need to use a text-to-speech program to assist them in speaking again after their stroke.
Post-stroke speech therapy can also be helpful for those who suffer from stroke-related speech impediments such as dysarthria or apraxia. Dysarthria is an inability to produce certain sounds due to damage in the brain’s motor cortex, while apraxia is an inability to produce certain words or phrases because of damage in the brain’s receptive areas (the areas responsible for understanding language).
Treatment is individualized to your specific needs, but will involve working with a licensed speech-language pathologist to practice certain skills through either: one-on-one sessions, online sessions or in a group. Speech therapists will also teach you communication techniques and tips to help better engage with others.
Personalized treatment plans are developed based on the severity of the stroke and the impact it had on your cognitive abilities, swallowing muscles, and overall mental health. For example, if you have aphasia (a language disorder), your therapist may focus more on strengthening that area of your brain by practicing naming objects, reading aloud and/or engaging in conversation about specific topics. If you have swallowing issues, therapists might use specialized tools such as straws or different consistencies of food in order to stretch those muscles back into shape.
Speech therapists work with a variety of people who have had strokes. Their goal is to help patients learn to communicate as effectively as possible. They provide training in techniques that make speaking easier and more natural for patients. They also use exercises to strengthen muscles involved in speaking. Some speech therapists also work with patients who have difficulty swallowing by teaching them how to eat safely.
A stroke can affect many different things, including the ability to communicate. Speech therapists help people regain their ability to communicate and swallow again after a stroke.
During the first few days after a stroke, speech therapy focuses on helping reduce the risk of swallowing problems. The speech therapist will make sure that the person is eating in a safe way and that they have enough fluid. They may talk to the family about how to prevent choking or aspiration. Aspiration is when food or liquid goes down the wrong pipe into the lungs.
After a few days, some patients will be able to work on communication skills with their therapist. This can include talking better or understanding others who are talking. Communication skills are very important for being able to care for yourself and being active in your own life. In order for speech therapy to be an option, the patient must have been previously “neurologically intact.” This means that they had no previous neurological deficits or any other impairment that would cause them to require special accommodations. Patients who are not “neurologically intact” may require special accommodations while participating in traditional speech therapy.