When a person has suffered a stroke, they’ve essentially endured an injury to the brain. A stroke occurs when blood flow and oxygen to the brain are halted by either a blood clot or a blood vessel that bursts. When this happens, the area of the brain in which the stroke occurred will be affected, meaning that the functions controlled by that part of the brain will be impacted as well. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States.
One common effect of stroke is a disruption is speech function. Many people who suffer a stroke have difficulty speaking, with patients having a varied range of recovery from stroke related speech disorders. If you or someone you care about has suffered a stroke, here’s what you need to know about how speech can be affected and how speech therapy can be a valuable tool in recovery.
How Stroke Affects Speech
Sudden difficulty with speech is often one of the first signs that a stroke has occurred. While slurred speech is often associated with stroke, the condition can affect speech in several ways.
One way that speech affects stroke is aphasia. Aphasia disrupts a person’s ability to both understand and use language. It’s important to note that aphasia doesn’t affect a person’s intelligence in any way, it’s just that their language processing ability has been impaired. A person with aphasia may have trouble finding the right words to use or may not be able to fully comprehend what is being spoken to them.
A person who has suffered a stroke may also be dealing with dysarthria or apraxia. The classic sign of dysarthria in a stroke victim is slurred speech or speaking at unusually slow or softly. Apraxia affects the person’s ability to move their lips and tongue in order to properly speak and enunciate. A person with apraxia will often struggle with specific words or sounds.
Recovering from Stroke with Speech Therapy
It’s estimated that about a third of stroke victims have residual problems with speech. In most cases, at least some level of speech can be restored with speech therapy, with many people regaining complete speech function. It’s important to mention that speech therapy doesn’t just help with communication, but also issues that can affect a person’s ability to swallow properly.
A speech therapist in a skilled nursing center will take a multi-directional approach to helping a person recover from stroke related speech impairments. A thorough evaluation should be conducted to determine the ideal course of care for each patient.
Professional Speech Therapy Services for Stroke Recovery
If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke, speech therapy is an important part of recovery. If a stroke is suspected, seek medical attention immediately, then approach your doctor about benefit of speech therapy for recovery. At Princeton Health Care Center, we provide stroke recovery services, including speech therapy. Contact Princeton Health Care Center today to learn more.