77 year old, Mr. X, a successful entrepreneur contacted us for a speech and language assessment as he had difficulty in communicating and speaking due to a stroke he had 3 months back. Like many people with aphasia, he had high expectations of himself and his progress.
On assessment, the problems he faced were: Fluent speech but severe word-finding difficulties – He “talked around” the missing words, gave long-winded responses that never answered the question. He had 60% difficulty maintaining topic of conversation. Slight difficulty in comprehending and following a lengthy conversation with a person, Also when more than one speaker was present. 90% of his reading and writing were affected, hence things like reading the business newspapers that he loved doing in his free time were now completely stopped.
Well aware of the above problems and would keep saying “I forgot what I was saying” ,”I know what I want to say but I’m not getting the words for it”. Having independently run a big business the above hindrance to his work ,due to the speech problems and the communication gap it caused to people around him made him initially de-motivated and depressed. When he had a communication breakdown, he just stopped speaking and got lost in thinking about what he wanted to say. He noticed when he substituted incorrect words approximately 40% of the time
Treatment & Results:
6 months of Speech Language Therapy of communicative strategies helped him to
- listen to and respond to questions effectively.
- He practiced listening to and giving appropriate replies and maintained topic 70% of the time.
- When answering questions about himself, his accuracy increased to 90% from around 30% initially
- Using the vocabulary and articles from his profession and his travels improved his conversational skills.
- From initially not being able to name a single thing he ate during breakfast/lunch/dinner, post 6 months Mr X could not only name what he ate accurately at every meal but also describe the elements that composed each dish 90% of the time without cues.
- His reading and writing improved from single words to sentences.
- He was motivated and less depressed as his improvement gave him the confidence boost he really need
- The communication gap that he had with family members, friends and employees and the avoidance of meeting people due to speech difficulties became negligible and he himself initiated in going back to his club, invited people home and even planned parties!