speech therapy exercises

How Can Speech Therapy Help Stroke Victims?

Speech and language disorders may affect anyone and might pose a threat to the general health of a person. However, these disorders become all the more difficult to cope up with if it happens after a person has been hit by some severe stroke. Stroke is a medical condition that affects the brain when there is a poor blood flow to it, hence resulting in cell death. Stroke is quite a common phenomenon these days, and it affects speech and language problems in most of the cases. Hence, the affected person faces various speech disorders, and if it is given immediate attention, then a majority of the speech disorder cases that occurred after a stroke, can be treated appropriately.

The you are suffering from Aphasia, a type of language disorder that commonly occurs to people who have suffered a stroke, then immediately seek for a good speech therapy after stroke services from a certified Speech Language Pathologist. Aphasia is a result of brain damage, in which the affected person faces difficulties in expressing himself/herself while speaking. Other symptoms include difficulty understanding speech and language, and difficulty in reading and writing, indicating that the person is suffering from a loss of communication skills.

It is a good news that almost a full recovery from Aphasia is made possible by Speech Language Pathologists who offer quality speech therapy after stroke services. In these therapies, special activities and exercises are taught, such as –

  • Playing with word games, like crossword puzzles
  • Reading or singing aloud
  • Reading the newspaper daily
  • Read books or watch movies which are specially released for Aphasia patients
  • Practise writing brief letters or greeting cards to friends or making a shopping list
  • Cooking a new recipe by reading the methods
  • Use the internet to communicate with various people on social media, and creating a personal Web page is a very good idea

Stroke occurs when there is an interruption in the normal flow of blood to the brain. After performing the above activities necessary for speech therapy after stroke treatment, as suggested by a certified Speech Language Pathologist, a secondary area responsible for speech and language is developed in the brain.

Some common speech therapy after stroke treatments include the following –

  • Intonation therapy in which the Aphasia patient is asked to sing words which he/she is unable to speak.
  • Visual speech perception therapy involves the association of photos with words, hence making it easier for the stroke victim to remember things by relating between the two. It improves the communication and recalling skills of the patient.
  • Art therapy is a kind of psychotherapy that focuses on making art as a method of communicating and expressing oneself. In this therapy speech therapy after stroke professionals make the Aphasia patient draw something, and then the therapist analyses his/her symbolic self-expression techniques as communicated through art.
  • Constraint-induced language therapy involves creating restrictions for the patient in the method of communication, and is designed in such a way so that the patient is left with no other choice but to communicate verbally. All other types of communication like gestures and other body language forms, writing, pictorial representations are simply not possible.
  • Group psychotherapy or simply group therapy focuses on communications, mainly verbal, which are done in groups. No one-to-one communication is allowed, as the speech therapy after stroke therapist treats several Aphasia patients together in a small group.

Aphasia patients should always keep in mind that they need to calm down and relax a bit, which will make their life a lot easier. They should not take any stress or pressure, nor should his family members create any stressful environments around the patient. Speech therapy after stroke treatments done by even the topmost therapists will fail, if the Aphasia patient is living in an aggravating environment.

7 Beliefs about Speech Therapy Exercises- Myth or Reality?

Children at their early ages are most likely to face speech and language disorders. It is a very common problem in infants, but as time passes it becomes more than a passing concern for parents. However, when they try to fish out information about language disabilities and speech therapy, they often come across misleading information. While some people tell them that speech therapy treats only stuttering and lisping, some advise them never to use “baby talk”. In this way things might get very confusing for parents. So here some of the myths have been debunked to reveal the truth behind them. Read on…


Speech therapy can treat only lisping and stuttering


Many people have this idea that speech therapy sessions can only work for patients with lisping and stuttering problems.  But to tell the truth, a speech pathologist deals with different kinds of speech disorders. Lisping and stuttering are just two of them. Aphasia, apraxia, dysphagia are some of the speech, language and swallowing impairments that can be treated with regular therapy under the supervision of an experienced speech language pathologist.


Speech therapy only involves talking


Do you think that speech therapy exercises are simply about talking? Think again! The speech language pathologists offer different programs for different difficulties. Each session is tailored to suit the requirement of an individual. The techniques or exercises blanket a wide range of tasks, from using sign language to verbal communication and the execution of communication aids to language comprehension. They also treat people with swallowing difficulties. The use of advanced methods enables a person to eat, drink and swallow food easily.  


Children get bored of it


It is true that parents find it very difficult to keep their kids hooked to these therapies. But today many therapeutic centers have recreated their exercise techniques. They have made speech therapy exercises interactive and person-centered. While there is a chance to talk to the speech language pathologist face-to-face and discuss problems, for children they have introduced games, apps, toys and other playful activities to develop their interests. To get the best result, they have brought forth the most innovative and thrilling ideas for kids.  


It’s an extended playtime for kids


These therapists often go back to the naturalistic approach for treating children. This suggests that they combine playing with teaching. For example, if a therapist is teaching a particular “d” sound, he/ she will take the help of a “doll” to familiarize the child with that exact sound and speech pattern. Similarly, for “t” sound, the kid is introduced to a “truck” or “train” for identification and speech improvement. As a result, the child learns to talk faster and more importantly, say things while visualizing the same. So this is definitely an extended playtime for children who can learn about a lot of new things while playing. In this process, parents can also stimulate interest in their sons/daughters about language by encouraging them to ask questions as well as reading with them.


“Baby talk” prevents language development


We often talk to infants in high pitched baby voice with exaggerated facial expressions and gestures to grab their attention. Contrary to impeding language development in babies, it actually helps in a number of ways. Here are few of them:

  • Babies quite like the rhythm of the sing song baby voice. Even newborns seem to enjoy this talk.
  • It helps babies know that the conversation is about them. They begin to learn new words related to people and the world as well as get to know many things about the world itself.
  • It enables them to differentiate between words and sounds. As they begin to separate speech, the variations in pitch help them understand the difference between words and sounds in a stream of speech.
  • Shorter and simpler sentences with frequent repetition of words make it easier for the tiny tots to comprehend what other person is saying. This, as a result, encourages them to communicate and integrate into social sphere.


Telegraphic speech helps kids learn to talk faster


The term “telegraphic speech” refers to short phrases and words without saying grammatically correct full sentences that are used by children at early age. For example, we often hear kids saying “Where glass?” instead of “Where is the glass?” or “Mom bag” instead of “This is Mom’s bag.” In a recent research, Prof. Marc Fey of the University of Kansas Medical Center has found that telegraphic speech can prevent a child’s learning of words and grammar. It particularly hinders them to utter complete sentences that are meaningful and grammatical correct. In a way, they fail to convey their message to others. It also deprives them of the useful information which comes from grammatically correct speech. In this case, the speech pathologists teach these children how to construct a sentence with short and simple words yet express their ideas without a hitch. The experts take various approaches including listening to language and grammar with picture cues that enable children to understand and learn new words and their meanings.


Bilingualism affects speech


Many parents believe that learning a second language can lead to speech disorder of their children. Though, in some cases, it proves to be true, the latest survey by the Department of Hearing and Speech completely denies it. A research on English-French bilinguals shows that children who know two languages perform better than those who have learnt only their mother tongue. Be it a cognitive task or a language skill test, they can do better. In fact, children who are learning two languages simultaneously will roughly go through the same development patterns as those learning only one language. Additionally, the speech experts say that the earlier a child learns another language, the better. Early age is a prime time to learn new things and the language around them. However, if a child is unable to grasp the new linguistic rules and patterns of another language, parents must not force it. Or else, they might mix up the vocabularies of two languages and be unable to use any of them properly.