Having a stroke can be a scary experience.
In the moment, you might feel confusion, loss of coordination, numbness in your limbs, and severe headache.
The aftermath of a stroke can lead to a number of long term side effects.
One of these effects is difficulty communicating.
But the good news is speech therapy to recover from a stroke has come a long way.
It can be frightening to know you or a loved one has had a stroke.
But a Washington DC speech therapist can help.
Today we’re going to look at the role of a speech therapist in stroke recovery and the adult speech therapy treatments we might use.
Let’s take a look.
What Happens When You Have A Stroke?
Your heart pumps, which moves blood through your arteries.
This sends your blood to the parts of your body that need it.
There are two sets of arteries that supply blood to your brain.
They’re called your carotid arteries and your vertebral arteries.
When these arteries are blocked, it blocks blood flow to your brain.
This is caused either by a burst artery, or blockage from a blood clot.
This causes a stroke.
When blood flow to the brain is stopped, it doesn’t get enough oxygen.
This causes brain cells to die.
There is also something called a transient ischemic attack (TIA), sometimes referred to as a “mini stroke”.
During a TIA, there is a temporary clot blocking blood flow to the brain.
These don’t usually cause permanent brain damage.
TIAs should be taken seriously as they can often be a precursor to a full stroke.
Stroke Warning Signs
If someone is having a stroke, it’s important to act fast.
The longer it takes to get treatment, the worse stroke effects tend to be.
Let’s review some of the key warning signs of stroke:
- Numbness or weakness on one side of the body, specifically in the arms, legs, or face
- Vision issues from one or both eyes
- Loss of balance and coordination which can present as trouble walking
- Confusion, trouble understanding others
- Having trouble speaking
- Sudden onset severe headache with no apparent cause
These symptoms usually happen very suddenly.
How Can Speech Therapy Help You Recover From A Stroke?
Stroke can affect different parts of your brain.
If a stroke affects the part of your brain responsible for speech, it can cause speech issues.
This doesn’t always happen.
But it’s estimated that about forty percent of people who have a stroke end up with speech issues.
If this happens to you, a speech therapist can help.
Let’s have a look at some of the ways a speech therapist can help with stroke recovery.
1. Matching Words And Pictures
One of the ways a stroke can affect your speech is you may have difficulty finding the right words to express yourself.
To help you recall words, your speech therapist may have you look at pictures of things and then practice the corresponding words.
This exercise can be useful for linking words and images in your brain.
It can also help improve your pronunciation.
2. Tongue Exercises
A common side effect of a stroke is muscle weakness.
This can include weakness in your tongue, which is important for forming speech.
Your speech therapist can teach you exercises and stretches to strengthen your tongue muscle.
This makes it easier to form words.
Some exercises you may be given include touching the tongue to specific areas in your mouth and simply sticking your tongue in and out of your mouth.
3. Breathing Exercises
One effect which you may experience while in recovery from a stroke experience is difficulty breathing while speaking.
As a result, you may find yourself taking more breaths as you speak.
This can make it harder for others to understand you, as well as make speaking for long periods difficult.
A speech therapist can help you practice regulating your breathing, and planning out when to pause and take breaths as you speak.
4. Practicing Words And Sounds
People recovering from stroke will often find it difficult to make the sounds required to form words.
This is known as a speech sound disorder, also known as an articulation disorder.
If you are having trouble with this, your speech therapist will have you practice making words and sounds which are similar.
Practicing words will help exercise your tongue and mouth and can help you work on the strength and clarity of sounds.
Start with simple words and work up to forming more complicated words.
5. Practicing Full Sentences
In addition to practicing individual words, you may also need to practice stringing words together into sentences.
As you practice sounds and words, you can also work on the act of constructing sentences.
Additionally, if your stroke has not also affected your ability to read, you can practice reading more complex sentences out loud.
Book Your Appointment With Voz Speech Therapy Today
Are you in recovery after experiencing a stroke?
Or maybe you’re doing research to help a friend or family member with their recovery.
In either case, we’re Voz Speech Therapy and we can help.
We help patients in the Washington DC area who are recovering from strokes get their voices back.
Book your appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today.
1331 H St NW Ste 200,
Washington, DC 20005
Voz Speech Therapy is a pediatric bilingual speech therapy clinic in Washington, DC that provides individualized services based on the specific needs of your or your child. Therapy sessions are provided in English or Spanish, depending on your child’s native language. Voz Speech Therapy es una clínica pediátrica bilingüe de terapia del habla en Washington, DC que brinda servicios individualizados según las necesidades específicas de usted o su hijo. Las sesiones de terapia se brindan en inglés o español, según el idioma nativo de su hijo.