Speech therapy covers a wide range of post-stroke challenges, including difficulties with swallowing, issues with speech and understanding, and concerns with cognition.
Swallowing problems can impact your overall recovery from a stroke by preventing you from eating and drinking safely. This can lead to malnutrition and dehydration, and in severe cases, can lead to food entering the lungs.
If you have issues with swallowing, your speech therapist will have you perform a series of swallowing tests that will help them create an individualized treatment plan to help you regain your swallowing skills and show you techniques to help compensate for any lost function.
Stroke can cause language impairment due to damage to the areas of the brain involved in processing language or due to loss of muscle control and muscle weakness in the mouth and throat. You might be able to speak just fine, but not be able to understand what is being said to you. Or you might understand just fine, but not be able to form words and speak.
Your speech therapist will use a variety of activities to help you recover your speech, learn to speak more clearly, or help you develop new ways of communicating to compensate for limitations caused by the stroke.
Cognitive skills are your thinking abilities. It’s how you use your brain to talk, read, write, learn, understand, reason and remember. These skills are key to managing everyday tasks and regaining your independence after a stroke. Cognition therapy will help you improve mental abilities and language skills damaged by a stroke.
Your speech therapist will give you a series of tests designed to measure your brain function, and will then work with you to restore the functions that can be restored, and help you learn how to do things differently when functioning cannot be restored to your pre-stroke level.