One of the main impairments after suffering from a stroke is aphasia. This condition impairs the victim’s ability to communicate with others. Suffering from aphasia profoundly alters daily activities, as well as aspects of social and professional life.

There are plenty of tips that stroke survivors can do to improve communication skills and social interactions alongside speech therapy.

For the patient:

Be Patient. Frustration is perfectly natural but you should learn what the best ways are to keep communicating with your relatives.

Initiate conversation in one-on-one situationswith a family member of someone you are comfortable with. Ensure a quiet environment and limit background noise by turning off tv and music.

Use gestures or picture books.If you are able to, feel free to write or draw images to supplement verbal expression.

For family members:

Always remain open as you learn what aphasia is and what are the best methods of communication. The survivor experiencing aphasia can usually still hear perfectly so they just need you to communicate differently towards them.

Adapt the way you communicate by using yes / no questions. Reducing the length and the complexity of the conversations – together with using gestures to emphasize important points – may also help communicating with the stroke victim.

Allow plenty of time to answer and confirm by repeating back what the person said or meant. This ensures a good understanding of what is being said.

One major part of speech therapy is trying exercises to help regain speech function and overturn the effects of aphasia. Some common exercises that can be used in speech therapy include:

Breathing exercises to help manage airflow.

Tongue movements to improve pronunciation and word formation.

Linking words with visual aids to memorize words and the ways to announce them.

Connecting words together to form sentences and help with speech flow and meaning.

The most obvious advice is to work with a speech therapist on a regular basis. Speech therapists are experts in helping their patients regain all forms of oral communication. They will build a plan that suits the needs of the patient to help him / her recover from aphasia.

Slow and steady progress reignites your inner voice!

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This document does not constitute the practice of medical consultation nor medical advice. Always seek the advice of your treating physician and/or specialist. If you suspect that you are experiencing symptoms of stroke, call for an ambulance immediately.