Adult Communication Problems
What communication problems occur after a stroke?
After a stroke, some people experience language deficits (aphasia) that significantly impair their ability to communicate. These deficits vary depending on the extent and location of the damage. Oral motor functioning is sometimes affected by a stroke.
The following problems may occur:
Muscles may be so weak that the person is unable to speak; consequently, he or she may need augmentative or alternative communication aids to help express ideas (e.g., a communication board). Weak muscles may also limit the ability to chew and swallow effectively (dysphagia).
- Muscles of the lips and tongue may be weaker (dysarthria) or less coordinated (Dyspraxia).
- Speech may not be clear.
- Breathing muscles may be weaker, affecting the patient's ability to speak loudly enough to be heard in conversation
What do Speech and Language Therapists do when working with individuals with a stroke?
The Speech Therapy treatment program focuses on improving the skills that have been affected by the stroke, depending on what areas are affected. For expressive and/or receptive language skills, the SLT will work on specific drills and strategies to improve them, such as the following:
- Working on word finding difficulties using regular exercises
- Participating in group therapy sessions to practice conversational skills with other stroke survivors
- Holding structured discussions, focusing on improving initiation of conversation, turn-taking, clarification of ideas, and repairing of conversational breakdowns
- Role-playing common communication situations that take place in the community and at home, such as talking on the telephone, ordering a meal in a restaurant, and talking to a salesperson at a store.
- If cognitive skills are affected, activities may include a memory log to keep track of daily happenings.
Communication is a necessary skill for us to function well in all aspects of life, throughout life. Speech Therapy could make a difference after a Stroke. The Speech Therapy Clinic offers professional Speech and Language Therapy in Dublin.