Speech Therapy

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.

Parent: The cog in the wheel of speech therapy

As parents, one of the most worrisome times is that when you discover that your child may not be developing in tandem with the average natural. Though this can happen to most children, parents almost have their world turned over when they realise that their child may be a late speaker or have other speech and language problems. This can be very difficult on parents and that may affect the progress your child may make even with the help of the best speech therapists.  Yes, while you may have the best speech therapist in the world helping your child, the most important cog in the wheel of speech therapy is none but you- Parents. This is why PCI or Parent Child Interaction is considered one of the most important aspects of this therapy. Parents are the most influential in a child’s life and here are a few things parents should do while a child is undergoing speech therapy.

 Be patient

Patience is the most important thing. Speech therapy for children that have delayed speech or other speech problemsis a slow and gradual process. Rushing it can cause stress in the child and hamper the developmental process. Parents are the ones that lose their patience the most, which is understandable given their worry. But it is most important that parents develop a sense of patience to let the therapy take its needed time to help the child. Make it feel forced, will only hamper the child’s interest in the therapy and will further create problems.

Take the Lead

Always take the lead. Like we have already mentioned, the parent is the child’s biggest influencer. Research suggests that almost over 80% of the child’s vocabulary is developed from the interactions a child has with a parent. Even though an experienced therapist is helping your child, you should always take the lead in motivating your child and helping your child out. Besides, for a child a therapist starts of as a stranger. So your child trusts you more and that is why you should always take the lead while your child is undergoing speech therapy.

Become a child

Parents often only think from an adult’s perspective. This affects Parent Child Interaction or PCI. A child’s mind works differently and its perspective is absolutely different. Everything they see or experience is new for them. A parent of a child with delayed speech, undergoing therapy should try and practice to think like his or her child. This improves communication between child and parent, which makes the therapy process very effective.

Question Less

Question your child less. Asking too many questions may confuse your child and drive them into a shell. Children who are late speakers have a problem communicating with others. So when you put forth too many questions, your child may find it difficult to answer not because he or she doesn’t have an answer but maybe because it is difficult for your child to put the answer together with words. This may drive your child into a shell, hampering the speech therapy process. Try to avoid that at all costs.

Comment more

Instead of questioning a lot, try and comment on your child’s activities more. Of course it has to be largely positive. Commenting helps children feel at ease and while the therapy is on, this will help children learn new words and make an effort to comment back or communicate.

Appreciate your child’s Effort

It is the most important to appreciate your child’s effort. This motivates children and they start to involve themselves more just to earn your appreciation. Remember … for a child, the parents are the biggest role models and their approval means a lot to them. So cheer them on and you can be rest assured that your child will progress leaps and bounds in therapy.

Want to know more, on how you can help your child overcome delayed speech problems with speech therapy? Get in touch with Speech Plus right away.

Ways To Deal With Post-Stroke Swallowing Problems Effectively

If you ever succumb to a stroke, then it is not merely the brain that becomes slow, but also a host of other organs start malfunctioning. Since the brain is the control unit of your body, once it is no longer functioning at its best, physical problems begin to crop up. Surely, that can be extremely troublesome for those who want to live their life to the fullest. Such a malfunctioning is exemplary for those who have had a stroke in the past. Among the many problems that a stroke can throw up for you, swallowing seems to be a recurring problem, especially in the first few weeks.

Now The Cause

Swallowing is simple when your brain is fully developed, and you do it very easily without thinking much. But, imagine how difficult it is for children with their brain functions still primitive and you will understand that swallowing is not too easy. It is precisely why liquid consumption is encouraged for children since they have not mastered the art of swallowing solid food yet. This problem is often termed as Dysphagia and occurs among adults when you have had a stroke recently. The part of the brain that is responsible for doing this may go haywire after swallowing, and that is precisely the source of the problem.

The Primary Symptoms 

The problem of swallowing is persisting, and you should learn the symptoms that can indicate the issue. After you have a stroke and you are admitted to the hospital, you will be checked if you can swallow properly after a few hours. If you cannot, then that is the primary symptom of Dysphagia. However, this is not always the case as the problem can surface after you are released from the hospital. So, what you need to do is keep an eye open for the secondary symptoms.

The Secondary Symptoms

Some secondary symptoms can indicate your Dysphagia post-stroke. Your voice may become croaky; you may cough a lot while having something. You may not feel comfortable regarding the food at all, and you may have some food left in your mouth even after you have apparently swallowed it all. Your chewing power will be nearly gone, and you will take hours to finish a meal. You will also now swallow more than once to clean the throat, and there could be all sorts of problems regarding this. Moreover, these can lead to further serious problems.

The After-Effects Of Stroke

If Dysphagia is troubling you a lot, then you may not be very pleased knowing that not swallowing safely can lead to another problem called aspiration. Aspiration can lead to pneumonia and also lung infections. In fact, there is another, an even more dangerous variation called silent aspiration. So, only a trained professional will be able to tell you whether you are doing it right or not. Hence, even if there are no issues of swallowing in the hospital, you should get a check up after two weeks.

Can It Get Better?

If you are having such problems, you don’t need to lose sleep over this. They do get cured, and you can swallow safely after a few weeks. However, if you are unlucky and you fall within the small percentage for which the problem persists, then you may need to look for medications and therapeutic interventions. Thankfully, Dysphagia does have its solutions, and you will be cured of it well.

What Are The Solutions?

If you are having swallowing problems, a speech therapist may help. They will assess your problems first by trying to understand the obstacles. Then, they will be suggesting the possible remedies for this problem. Dysphagia can be countered using various tactics. You can have thick drinks that are easy to swallow. Mashed potato and other smoother foods can be part of your diet. You should always have them cold so that the hotness is not an impediment to the swallowing process. Also, you have to stop eating in copious amounts twice or thrice a day and have small meals throughout the day. The therapist will also chart out the safe foods as well as the unsafe ones. This diet may shift according to your response to this therapy. If the problem is aggravating, then you may have to be tube fed.