How to Regain Speech After a Stroke
A stroke is a debilitating attack that strikes the brain, but can affect the whole body. A stroke can be caused by a clot or a hemorrhage in a blood vessel in the brain, and when blood supply is cut off, serious damage is done to the brain. A stroke can result in physical difficulties, like the inability to walk, hold objects and perform daily activities. A stroke can affect cognition, and even the ability to speak and communicate. Aphasia is the term used to describe loss of speech and communication skills, and is common after a stroke 1. There are ways to help regain speech after a stroke, and learn to communicate again.
Know that speech may suddenly return. It is possible for speech to suddenly return on its own, even without treatment. This typically happens after a minor stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), called a mini-stroke. If speech is going to return quickly, it often happens within just a few days. For more severe strokes and significant damage, stroke rehabilitation is needed to help speech return.
Start stroke rehabilitation. Stroke rehabilitation can help stroke survivors learn to regain skills lost by damage sustained during the stroke. Stroke rehabilitation can include physical therapy and occupational therapy to help remind the brain how to do daily activities again, like getting dressed and holding a fork. Stroke rehabilitation can also include speech therapy.
Work with a speech therapist. Speech therapy can be effective for stroke patients suffering from aphasia 1. Speech therapy will teach you how to use and improve the speech skills you still have, while working to regain lost speech skills.
Stick with it. Know that it can take a long time for aphasia to improve following a stroke 1. keep working hard, attending speech therapy visits, and practicing your speaking skills regularly with friends and family at home. Don't expect speech to return after a few weeks of treatment—be patient. Recovering from a stroke is difficult, and it takes a lot of patience and motivation. You've got to stick with therapy and convince yourself that your hard work will pay off—and the gift of speech is well worth all of your efforts.
Be realistic about your recovery. While some people have minor brain damage and aphasia is mild, others have more severe damage and may not ever completely recover from their stroke 1. Know what you're up against, and set realistic goals with your speech therapist for things you want to accomplish.
Join a club or therapy group. Group therapy is a great opportunity for you to practice your speaking and communication skills, and with other people who are also recovering from a stroke. Not only will your speech skills improve with the practice, but it can be comforting to talk with other stroke survivors struggling with aphasia 1.
Family members should be supportive of a stroke victim, and learn to speak slowly, simply and clearly so that they can be better understood.
Understand that you may not be able to completely regain your speech following a stroke.
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