Importance of Speech Therapy for Stroke Patients

The period between a stroke and complete recovery from it is a time of great ordeal for not only the patients but their loved ones as well. Be it ischemic or hemorrhagic, a catastrophic incident like a stroke can lead to permanent or temporary paralysis on one side of the patient’s body. It is normal to feel depressed and apprehensive for both the patients and their family but at the same time, it is extremely important for everybody to stay strong and be optimistic about a quick recovery. A stroke survivor needs as much support as possible from family and friends. And to ensure a speedy recovery, the patient must get stroke rehabilitation treatment from experienced professionals.

Stroke can impact other bodily functions like balance, speech, cognition, memory, and vision. All such issues make it quite tough for stroke patients to handle regular tasks like dressing up, maintaining hygiene and self-care routine. Managing roles as a parent, spouse or an employee become beyond limits for them.

Aphasia, the disorder that impairs the ability to process language, affects as many as 20% to 40% of people who suffered a stroke. It makes understanding others and to communicate with them difficult. It diminishes the person’s ability to read, write and comprehend as well.

However, there is a silver lining to this situation for stroke survivors. There are rehabilitation therapists who help people with getting their ability to speak back through speech therapy.

How SLPs Help Stroke Patients?

Stroke survivors struggle with different issues like dysphagia, dysarthria, aphasia. Such problems make it tough for them to function independently. SLPs help with all these concerns. An SLP will prepare a treatment plan for the patient after thoroughly assessing the condition. The SLP would use specific strategies for the patient struggling with language to retain word retrieval. At times SLPs also suggest group therapy to enhance conversational skills like clarifying ideas and taking turns. The SLPs also go the extra mile to help a patient by doing role-play.

The SLPs work in tandem with other rehab professionals like physiotherapists or occupational therapists to accelerate the recovery process and to ensure better care. The SLPs advise maintaining an organizer or diary to plan regular work or a memory log to note daily occurrences to those whose cognitive skills are affected. In case, the SLP notices any functional deficits concerning the patient, he would inform the caregiving team so that these issues are monitored and addressed proactively.

Role Played by a Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists or SLPs are also called speech therapists. They are an essential part of the rehabilitation team. They assess, diagnose and treat issues concerning language, speech, voice, cognitive-communication, etc. SLPs work towards attaining the optimum level possible to improve language and communication function of the patients.

Dysarthria, Aphasia and the Function of an SLP in its Treatment

Brain damage caused due to stroke results in unclear speech, which makes it difficult for the listeners to understand the spoken words. This condition goes by the name of dysarthria. It happens as the tongue, throat and face muscles become slow, weak and uncoordinated. Although, it does not affect the ability to think, remember or retrieve words it causes patients to lose confidence while talking. Even if others may find the symptoms to be mild but this ailment at times forces the patient to be socially isolated.

Aphasia is another major issue that affects stroke survivors. It is an impairment of language. It affects the comprehension or production of speech as well as the ability to read and write. The impact of aphasia can range from mild to severe. Aphasia is further segregated into different types depending on the severity and range of issues. Global aphasia, Mixed transcortical aphasia, Broca’s aphasia, Transcortical motor aphasia, Wernicke’s aphasia, Conduction aphasi, and anomic aphasia are the different types of aphasia that may affect a patient.

A speech pathologist or a speech and language therapist is the ideal professional to seek assistance from when met with such situations. The treatment procedure involves advice, education, strategies, and exercise to enhance speech clarity and to boost confidence for social interaction. Brain stimulation or acupuncture can also be done if required.

If you are looking for the right SLP for a loved one, contact the professional experts at Nightingales. Our speech and language therapists have years of experience in handling different kinds of speech disorders for people of all age groups. Patients are able to communicate in a better way through numerous interactive sessions conducted by our SLPs. They are able to regain confidence right at the comfort of their home.

References –

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