How to Treat Aphasia (When Stroke Affects Speech)

How to Treat Aphasia (When Stroke Affects Speech)

When stroke affects your speech, it means that you might suffer from a condition called aphasia – a condition typically diagnosed by your neurologist.

Aphasia is a language disorder that can occur when stroke affects the language center of your brain.

Spontaneous Recovery

The good news is that sometimes aphasia goes away on its own, which is known as spontaneous recovery. The likelihood of spontaneous recovery depends on the severity of your stroke.

If your stroke was relatively small (like a TIA), then your chances of spontaneous recovery are greater than if your stroke was severe. And if your stroke was severe, then it’s a good decision to look into speech therapy options, which we will discuss soon.

Be careful not to passively wait for spontaneous recovery to happen, though.

In our opinion, it’s better to actively seek treatment than hope that the condition will fix itself. This will help boost your sense of personal empowerment – which is essential for stroke recovery.

Speech Therapy

The most common way to treat speech problems after stroke is by going to speech therapy and seeing a speech-language pathologist (SLPs).

SLPs are highly trained in how to manage speech impairments after neurological injury. Some stroke survivors see immense improvement working with an SLP, and others don’t.

If you participate in speech therapy and see no improvement, then the next option could be perfect for you.

Can’t Speak At All? Try Singing Therapy

Our article on singing therapy is one of our favorites because of the immense HOPE that it brings.

If you’re having trouble speaking – if you can’t say a single word – then you might be able to SING your words.

Talking is controlled by the language center of your brain in your left hemisphere. Singing, however, is controlled by your created right brain.

Stroke survivors who suffer from aphasia typically have sustained a left-brain stroke, which means that the right hemisphere of their brain is still fully functional.

Therefore, stroke survivors who have difficulty speaking (a left-brain task) can usually manage to sing their words (a right-brain task).

It may feel silly to sing your words all the time, but singing therapy can help transition you from singing to speaking.

If you haven’t been able to speak very well since your stroke, then singing therapy is a great option to look into.

Dealing with Misunderstandings Due to Aphasia

Dealing with aphaisa can make communication extremely difficult and, as a consequence, lead to miscommunication and sometimes hurt feelings.

For example, people who are unaware of what aphasia is may assume that speaking louder can help convey their message – which, for the record, it won’t. So please don’t.

To help reduce these misunderstandings, send our article about 12 Things That Every Stroke Survivor Wished You Knew to your friends and family so that they know how to respectfully interact with you.

And if you’re a caregiver, please give the article a read. It will help everyone make sense of this confusing time.

Examples include:

  • Please don’t raise your voice. I’m not deaf, I’m wounded.
  • Please have patience with my memory.
  • Repeat yourself – assume I know nothing and start from the beginning, over and over.

If you can relate to any of these statements, then be sure to let others know how you would like to be treated.

Do you suffer from aphasia? Have you participated in speech therapy before?

Please share your experience with our community in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.

  • Bernice Barnes

    My husband is a little over a year post stroke and suffers from severe global aphasia. We have had many speech therapy sessions. He can repeat almost any thing you say and has a vocabulary of about 20 words. I am his wife his best friend and his caregiver. The thing is…. If I suggest anything he doesn’t want to listen or try. I get no help from his family as they are so busy blaming me that they refuse to help. He has gone backwards in his recovery. By his own fault! I will however take part if the blame. I have been at my breaking point with him at times and I’m tired of pleading and begging him. I don’t know what else I can do to help. I’m so ready to just throw in the towel at times. I’m very tired and stressed out as I have not had one single day just for me in almost 14 months. Any suggestions or advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you flint!