After a stroke, patients have more than just physical disabilities. They often have to learn to speak all over again. Speech language pathology professionals are the best resources for your recovery following a stroke, and your physician or the hospital will probably initiate your treatments during your stay.
Initially during your treatment, the focus will be on forming words and developing clear speech patterns and volume control. Even if at the start your muscles are so weak that you can’t even be heard, speech language pathology will help you develop them and strengthen them. Victims of severe strokes may not be able to eat or swallow. This is also an area where your speech therapist can help you regain control.
Areas of Stroke Related Speech Language Pathology
Your therapist will be involved in many areas of your recovery besides actual speaking ability. They will help you focus your thoughts, and regain the ability to sequence them in order to tell a story or relate an event. Your pathologist will be able to help you curtail the tendency to trail off or switch subjects midstream and take turns during a conversation. All of these problems are typical after a stroke.
Some other issues that are caused by a stroke are having a hard time controlling emotional reactions to topics of conversations, inappropriate responses to questions or statements and difficulty keeping up with a conversation. These are more than just simple muscle control issues that speech language pathology exercises are designed to help. As you progress in your treatment, your pathologist will help you change the tone of your voice to create proper inflections, and interpret conversational subtleties such as sarcasm or general humour that can disorient stroke victims.
Fighting the Frustration of Speech Therapy Following a Stroke
It is important to have patience and continue with the program. Depending on the severity of the stroke, it can take many weeks to begin seeing progress. Patients often become frustrated with their inability to communicate, or even do normal tasks. It is normal to be upset as long as you do not give up.
With regular appointments and hard work, the situation will improve, but it will take time. Plateaus are also normal and frustrating. Patients who hit a plateau may be tempted to stop doing the therapy work, but pushing through and continuing with your speech language pathology work will eventually break down the barriers.