11 Clearest Ways How to Speak after Stroke
After a stroke, the patient usually has difficulty in speaking. This is due to the brain damage that occurs in the patient. It may also be difficult for the patient to understand others when they speak to him/her. These communication difficulties are classified as follows :
- Aphasia – is a difficulty that the patient experiences in speaking, writing, reading or understanding a conversation with others.
- Apraxia – is a difficulty that the patient experiences in controlling the muscles for speech.
- Dysarthria – is a paralysis of the muscles used to speak. As a result the patient is more like mumbling and his/her words become elusive.
- Dysphonia – is a paralysis of the muscles in and around the vocal cords. As a result the patient’s voice may sound hoarse or whispery.
- Cognitive difficulties – are disorders of the patient’s memory, thinking and judgment. The patient will be hard to notice when others talk to him/her, hard to understand the conversation, and often digress when talking.
Each stroke patient has his/her own problems in communicating. Therefore the treatment is adjusted to the condition of each patient. It takes perseverance to keep improving the ability to speak from day to day. Here are several ways how to speak after stroke.
1. Remember the Words
The stroke patient actually knows what he/she wants to say but he/she can not think of those words. To help the patient find the word, you can suggest him/her ideas related to the word. For example if he/she forgets the word shoes, then help him/her by reminding other things that are still associated with shoes such as socks, shoelace or famous brand of shoes. Try to understand the patient. Do not make the patient depressed even if you know ways how to cure men’s depression.
2. Deliver the Message with Gestures
Communication is not only verbally, but also with gestures and facial expressions. They are very helpful in delivering a message. With gestures, it is easier for others to understand the patient’s intentions.
3. Use Computer-Based Speech Therapy
Currently there are several software applications that can be used to help stroke patients speak again. These apps use images, words and sounds to stimulate the injured nervous system. By using the application, patients can do speech therapy independently at home. One of the applications is AphasiaScripts which allows the patient to create a conversation script and pictures according to his/her needs.
4. Join Stroke Rehabilitation
Stroke rehabilitation may help stroke survivors to re-learn skills that have been lost due to a stroke. Stroke rehabilitation not only helps the brain to remember daily activities such as dressing, wearing shoes and so on, but it is also useful for practicing speaking.
Research shows that patients who join the stroke rehabilitation program recover better than patients who do not undergo stroke rehabilitation. There are many methods for stroke rehabilitation. It depends on which part of the body or what abilities are affected by the stroke. The length of stroke rehabilitation depends on the severity and complication of each patient.
Some stroke patients recover quickly. But most require long-term stroke rehabilitation. It could be months or years. During rehabilitation, the patient may experience sleep disorders. No need to worry, there are ways on how to get good sleep when stressed.
5. Work Together With Speech Therapist
The therapist plays an important role in providing professional advice and an understanding of the physical and emotional constraints experienced by stroke patients. The speech therapist, as a member of the patient care team, has the ability to assess, diagnose, and treat disorders related to speech, language, cognitive communication, sound, swallowing ability, and other related problems.
The goal of the speech therapist is to restore the patient’s language and communication skills as best as possible. The speech therapist will teach the patient to improve the ability to speak that has been lost due to stroke. Role-playing is often done as part of the therapy to practice interaction in everyday life. For example the therapist becomes the cashier at the store and the patient becomes a customer.
6. Join Group Therapy
Group therapy is one of the effective ways how to speak after stroke. It’s a great method to learn to communicate and socialize. It also provides support for stroke patients to become a better person. This has been confirmed by recent studies which indicate the importance of support from those around patients in stroke recovery.
Social interaction can help relieve depression experienced by stroke patients. Not to mention the positive attitude that turned out to be an important factor in stroke recovery. Therefore group therapy provides an opportunity to be close to people with a good attitude. Patients often find that positive attitudes can spread between them and change their lives. Anyway it’s good for the patient to know there are effective ways how to treat lack of self confidence.
7. Join Intensive Speech Therapy Course
The intensive course is usually able to restore speech in a fast time. It can be individual or group sessions, sometimes aided by a computer program. The course will teach the stroke patient to read aloud, understand reading, sing, talk with the metronome and pair words with pictures.
8. Practice Reading Comprehension
Reading comprehension refers to the patient’s ability to understand what he/she read. It is an exercise for patients to read a book and then answer related questions. It doesn’t matter if the patient does it slowly. He/she can read at his/her own speed. This exercise can be done at home.
9. Use Children’s Books
Children’s books can also be used for therapy for stroke patients. The use of basic words in children’s books will help patients understand quickly.
10. Use Melodies in Words
Singing can evoke the spirit of a stroke patient, especially the songs that are familiar with the patient. The patient can learn to sing with a familiar melody. Then new words and short sentences are taught by singing them with that familiar melody. Slowly and gradually the patient can be taught to recognize new words. Adding melodies to words will help the patient to remember more easily.
11. Talk Slowly
Stroke patients generally can not talk too fast because their muscles are still stiff. The best way to practice speech is to speak as slowly as possible or to use a metronome to slow down the conversation. Use a slow tempo and say one syllable per tap.
All right, those are various ways how to speak after stroke. Support from family and friends is very important to speed up the recovery. And certainly patience and understanding from the people around will provide a better environment for stroke survivors.