A stroke is the result of an injury to the brain that is caused by either a bleed in the brain (referred to as hemorrhagic) or a blood clot in the brain (referred to as ischemic) causing injury and loss of function of the brain. Because the brain controls all functions of the body, any part of the body can be affected by a stroke. The left-hand side of the brain is in control of language, so if this part becomes damaged during a stroke, a variety of communication problems can arise, as well as some paralysis of the right-hand side of the face and body. This type of stroke can sometimes be referred to as a speech stroke. When speech is significantly affected by a stroke, independence and quality of life can be greatly reduced for the person who is recovering. If you or someone you love is struggling to communicate as the result of a stroke, get help as soon as possible. Speech therapy is one of the best resources for helping someone regain their communication abilities, and you can get started by scheduling your free introductory call today!
How Does a Stroke Affect Speech?
Speech challenges that follow a stroke can include dysarthria and/or apraxia of speech. Dysarthria refers to weakness or reduced control of muscles that are used for breathing, producing speech and vocalizations, and swallowing. Apraxia of Speech refers to difficulties related to sequencing and coordinating these same structures and muscles.
Difficulty with language following a stroke is referred to as aphasia. There are several different types of aphasia, as an individual may struggle with language comprehension and/or expression, reading, writing, or using numbers. Individuals can also have challenges related to music, including reading, performing, or listening to and enjoying music.
Characteristics of Speech Difficulties:
The process of producing speech involves the use of muscles for breathing and producing voice and speech sounds quickly and correctly, dysarthria or apraxia may result in an individual’s speech sounding:
- “slurred” or distorted
- too fast or too slow
- harsh or strained
What are the Different Types of Strokes?
The five types of strokes are considered to be medical emergencies because they stop or interrupt the flow of blood to the brain. These types include:
An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain becomes blocked by the presence of a blood clot. The majority of strokes are of this type.
This type of stroke occurs when bleeding in the brain causes damage to the nearby cells.
Transient Ischemic Attack (Mini-Stroke)
Ischemic strokes also include what is referred to as a “mini-stroke” or a TIA (transient ischemic attack). These are caused by a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain. The symptoms of these types of stroke can last for a few minutes or may go away within 24 hours.
Brain Stem Stroke
This type of stroke occurs in your brain stem and can affect both sides of the body. When this happens, the individual may be left in a “locked-in” state where they are unable to speak or move their body below the neck.
This refers to when a stroke occurs with no obvious or known cause or origin.
What Kind of Stroke Causes Speech Problems?
How a stroke affects an individual depends on where in the brain the stroke occurs. Approximately 1 in 3 stroke patients experience difficulties related to speech and language. Someone who has suffered a stroke may exhibit signs of apraxia, dysarthria, or aphasia depending on what parts of the brain and body are affected.
Can Speech Return After a Stroke?
The good news is that most people who have suffered a stroke are able to recover their language and communication skills. The rate at which each individual will regain their abilities, as well as whether they will make a full recovery, will vary depending on the location and severity of the stroke. For some, speech and language skills recover spontaneously as the individual recovers. For others, it’s a slow and uncertain journey and any progress, however minor, is celebrated. The best resource for anyone who is struggling to speak as the result of a stroke is time with an experienced speech and language pathologist. Get help now by scheduling your free introductory call today!
How Can Speech Therapy Help with Speech After a Stroke? How do you Regain Speech After a Stroke?
Speech and Language Therapy for someone recovering from a stroke will focus on relearning and rebuilding a variety of types of communication skills that will aid the patient as they work to manage the effects of the stroke. Because the conditions that can develop as a result of a stroke vary significantly, the treatment plan will also differ depending on the severity of the stroke and what skills have been affected. The most common conditions associated with a stroke that speech and language pathologists can help with include; Aphasia, Dysarthria, Apraxia of Speech, and Dysphagia (swallowing).
Treatment with a speech therapist will always involve an initial detailed assessment of communication skills (speech and language) and swallowing function. Once the goals of the individual, as well as the areas of particular challenge, are identified an individually tailored treatment program will be devised by the speech therapist. As part of the treatment plan, the speech and language therapist should also communicate and work in conjunction with other involved healthcare professionals to ensure quality and continuity of care. Treatment from an expert who has vast knowledge and experience in working with the difficulties and problems following a stroke can be expected when working with an SLP. At Great Speech, we aim to successfully help each individual to overcome these challenges and regain as much independence as possible. Connecting with an experienced and specialized speech therapist has never been easier. Get started by scheduling your free introductory call today!