Tips to recover your communication skills
A communication stroke is a debilitating attack that strikes the brain but can affect the whole body. A communication 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 communication stroke can result in physical difficulties, like the inability to walk, hold objects and perform daily activities.
A communication stroke can affect cognition, and even the ability to speak and communicate. Aphasia is the term used to describe the loss of communication skills and is common after a stroke. There are ways to help regain communication after a stroke, and learn to regain again.
Why do communication problems occur after a stroke?
Different parts of our brain in your body are responsible for the ability to speak, to understand what others are saying and to read and write. If these parts of your brain are affected by your stroke you will have difficulty communicating.
What type of communication problems might you have?
Depending on the parts of the brain affected you may have different types of communication problems. These include:
Aphasia or dysphasia
This can make it difficult for you to find the right words, use long sentences or understand what others are saying.
The muscles you use to speak may be weak or paralyzed. This might make your speech slurred or difficult for others to understand.
A stroke can make the muscles around your vocal cords weak or paralyzed. This can make it difficult to make your voice come out.
Reading and writing
You may have problems using your ‘writing hand’ or problems thinking or seeing. See the Upper limb management after stroke and Thinking and perception after stroke fact sheets for more information.
How well will you recover?
Recovery after communication stroke is often slow and knowing how much someone will recover is difficult. Most recovery takes place in the first six-seven months however improvement can continue for years.
What treatment will you receive?
Possibilities of speech to return
Know that communication skill may suddenly return. It is possible for communication skill /speech to suddenly return on its own way, even without treatment. This typically happens after a minor stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), it is called a mini-stroke. If communication skill is going to return quickly, it often happens within few days. For more severe communication kill strokes and significant damage, stroke rehabilitation is also needed to help speech return.
Start communication stroke rehabilitation. Stroke rehabilitation can also help stroke survivors learn to regain communication skills lost by damage sustained during the stroke. Stroke rehabilitation can include physical therapy as well as occupational therapy, to help your brain to remind, 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. Speech therapy will teach you how to use and improve the communication skills you still have while working to regain lost speech skills.
Follow a regular communication
Stick with it. Know that it can take a long time for aphasia to improve following a communication skill. keep working hard, attending speech therapy visits, and practicing your communication skills regularly with friends and family at home. Don’t expect communication to return after a few weeks of treatment—be patient. Recovering from a communication stroke is difficult, and it takes a lot of patience and motivation. You have 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.
For aphasia, treatment should focus on your particular difficulty. You may work with the speech pathologist on your own, or with a group of stroke survivors and sometimes you may use a computer to work through your exercises. Your speech pathologist will also work with your family members and also with your friends to help them to help you in getting your message across. In addition, to this everyone is different, and the effects of stroke vary. Full recovery is not always possible, but patience, help, support, and also practice can go a long way in helping people to regain their communication skills after a stroke.