Surviving a stroke is a huge thing, and it can seem insurmountable to get back to ‘life as usual’. Unfortunately, that may never happen - there is no magic cure. However, with speech therapy there can be rehabilitation and you can achieve your highest potential.
Stroke victims face many challenges when trying to get back to their regular lives. When there has been an impairment of the ability to speak or understand language, getting back to normal can be even more difficult. This impairment, called aphasia, strikes more than 20% of stroke victims and can cause difficulties forming and articulating words, problems with understanding speech and even an inability to read or write.
Most victims of stroke who have aphasia suffer from Broca’s aphasia. Broca’s aphasia affects the person’s ability to speak coherent words and sentences. Others may be affected by Wernicke’s aphasia, which is the inability to understand spoken words. If not either of those, it could be global aphasia, which affects both the ability to speak and the ability to understand.
Aphasia results from damage to the areas of the brain that control language. In Broca’s aphasia, the area was deprived of nutrient-rich blood long enough to cause damage to the center that enables a person to form and articulate new words. In Wernicke’s aphasia, the center that processes words into understandable concepts sustains damage. With global aphasia, both areas are damaged, resulting in difficulty communicating and comprehension.
With global aphasia, which is the third type of aphasia, both areas are damaged, resulting in difficulty communicating and comprehension.
The vast majority of cases of aphasia can be treated by engaging a speech pathologist as soon as possible. Most speech therapists will use a combination of auditory, and visual stimulation. Behavioral therapy, group therapy, and one-on-one interactions with the therapist are also commonly used treatment methods.
Optimally, treatment should be undertaken for an average of not less than 8 hours per week until the patient is at or near full function. The studies showed that treatments given for fewer than 8 hours per week were less productive.