Approximately 30% of stroke survivors will experience communication problems following a stroke. This often looks like difficulty understanding what people are saying but can also include difficulty reading and writing too. As different parts of the brain are responsible for different tasks, the type and severity of the communication problems will depend on the part of the brain that was damaged by the stroke. Here we will discuss possible communication problems and recovery following a stroke.
What communication problems may there be?
Aphasia is a common problem after stroke with approximately 30% of stroke survivors being affected. Aphasia affects a person’s ability to speak and understand what others say and may also affect their ability to read and write.
Dysarthria is a difficulty speaking due to a loss of muscle control in the face, mouth and throat. Speech can be slurred, slow or quiet.
Dysphagia is related to and can be a symptom of dysarthria. People suffering with dysphagia have difficulty swallowing due to loss of muscle control.
Apraxia of speech is when a person can’t move the muscles of the face, mouth or throat in the correct way to allow for speech. Apraxia can make it really difficult for other people to understand what is being said.
It’s important for people to remember that these communication problems don’t affect a person’s intelligence levels.
Will communication problems get better?
Most communication problems will improve but recovery will look different for each person. It is difficult to predict how long recovery will take or much recovery a person will make. It is common to see improvements within the first 3-6 months following a stroke but people will continue to improve for months and years after.
Can communication difficulties be treated?
If a person has communication problems following a stroke they should be referred to a speech and language therapist. This happens following an assessment and appointments can take place at hospital or at home, depending on the person’s needs. As with all rehabilitation, it takes time and dedication on a daily basis, outside of these appointments, to really see improvements.
A speech and language therapist will work with the person to help them recover as many speech, reading and writing skills as possible. They can also help them to learn new ways to communicate if necessary. This can include anything from learning new gestures to electronic devices.
Naturally people aim to recover to how they were before the stroke occurred. This isn’t always possible so for those who don’t recover completely it’s important to learn a new way of communicating. This will allow them to continue to live a long and fulfilling life despite still having communication difficulties.
Eximius can help
Eximius offers live-in support to stroke survivors who need extra help with daily activities to allow them to live a whole and fulfilling life. We ensure a tailored-made support package to ensure you get exactly the support you need. Contact us here for more information.
Stroke – What you need to know