The Speech Therapist


A stroke can affect a person’s language faculties: understanding language and/or using language to speak, read and write. Speech patterns may also be affected. See below how speech-language therapy can help.

How Do Strokes Affect Speech?

There are different types of strokes. The most common is called an ischemic stroke, which causes the brain’s blood supply to be significantly reduced. The brain cannot be provided vital oxygen and nutrients it needs. Depending on where the stroke happened in the brain, this damage can lead to a variety of disabilities, including speech and language problems.

Common Speech and Language Diagnoses

There are three communication disorders that can happen after a stroke. A thorough evaluation from a speech-language therapist can help you make the most informed treatment decisions.

  • Aphasia: a language disorder that typically results from damage to the left side of our brain. As a result, it can affect the ability to process and understand language (for example, putting together words to form coherent sentences, or remembering the names of people, and objects). Approximately 25-40% of people who’ve experienced a stroke will acquire aphasia. When it affects the right side of the brain, it results in a different type of aphasia.
  • Apraxia: The brain sends signals to the muscles in our mouths to plan/control speech and make accurate sounds. When these signals are disrupted due to a neurological condition like a stroke, it becomes difficult to plan these muscle movements. This may cause trouble producing coherent and legible words and sentences.  
  • Dysarthria: When the mouth muscles involved in the production of speech are weakened or paralyzed, it affects the tongue, lips, soft palate and vocal cords. Speech may become slurred, soft, sounds unclear and excess drooling may occur as a result. This can affect the speed, rhythm, volume, and quality of your speech. Up to 60% of individuals with a stroke may develop dysarthria.
    Tools from TalkTools can be used to build up and strengthen the muscles of the jaw, lips and tongue again.

It is important to note that while aphasia, apraxia, and dysarthria are common after a stroke, there are a host of other communication problems that can result from brain damage. This can include difficulty with social or emotional cues, mood or memory problems, and other challenges that affect communication.
Nurse helping patient


What Does Speech and Language Therapy Involve?

Many post-stroke patients will regain much of their normal speech function over time. Others require more intensive treatment to aid in their recovery.

Regardless, if you’ve suffered a stroke and have subsequent communication problems, please feel free to contact The-Speech-Therapist. You do not need a referral from your GP. Speech therapists are communication experts, and they’ll work with you, your family, and your care team to help you strengthen your communication abilities.

Before treatment starts, a comprehensive evaluation should be done to assess your speech strengths and weaknesses, better understand how communication challenges are affecting your everyday life, and diagnose the nature of your problem.

Based on this information and your communication goals, as well as your general health information following a stroke, I develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs. It may involve a variety of speech therapy techniques and practical activities to help you regain your communication skills. If you have dysarthria, therapy can also include physical exercises to rebuild and strengthen the muscles involved in speech.

When the significant people in your life become actively involved (this can include your spouse, friends and family, and care staff) it may benefit you better. I’ll also arm your family with tools, education, and activities so that communication skills can be practiced and reinforced at home throughout your daily life.

If your verbal communication is severely impacted, alternative ways to express your thoughts may be necessary. This is called Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), and it can involve gesturing, electronic devices, whiteboards, picture boards, and more.