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The Best Speech Therapy Exercises to Get Your Voice Back

In early management of severe traumatic brain injury, speech therapists play an important role

Speech therapy exercises can help you improve your ability to communicate and produce language.

You’re about to discover some great speech therapy exercises that you can try at home.

Then, we’ll share some tips to help you get started even if you can’t talk at all.

The Big Benefit of Speech Therapy Exercises

Speech therapy exercises are great for improving language disorders like aphasia.

The language center of the brain resides in the left hemisphere. Therefore, aphasia often occurs after a left hemisphere stroke or brain injury.

Speech therapy exercises help improve language skills after damage to the left hemisphere by sparking neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is the process that the brain uses to rewire itself. After a stroke or brain injury, healthy areas of the brain can take over damaged functions.

In this case, speech therapy exercises encourage new areas of the brain to take on the function of speech and communication.

The best way to activate neuroplasticity is with repetitive stimulation. The more you practice speech therapy exercises, the more you stimulate the brain. As a result, language skills can improve.

Bonus: Download our free Stroke Rehab Exercises ebook. (Link will open a pop-up that will not interrupt your reading.)

Speech Therapy Exercises

You can practice the following speech therapy exercises at home.

Ideally, you can work with a Speech Language Pathologist to improve your language skills. Then, you can use these exercises to practice at home in between speech therapy sessions.

Try to practice each exercises with high repetition to expose your brain to as much positive stimulation as possible.

Here are the speech therapy exercises:

1. Tongue In-and-Outs

stroke patient sticking out tongue for speech therapy exercises

Stick your tongue out and hold it for 2 seconds, then pull it back in. Hold for 2 seconds, and repeat.

2. Tongue Side-to-Side

Open your mouth and move your tongue to touch the right corner of your mouth. Hold for 2 seconds, then touch the left corner of your mouth. Hold for 2 seconds, and repeat.

3. Tongue Up-and-Down

Open your mouth and stick your tongue out. Then, reach your tongue up toward your nose. Hold for 2 seconds, then reach your tongue down toward your chin. Hold for 2 seconds, and repeat.

It’s best to do all of these exercises in front of the mirror so that you can get proper visual feedback.

4. Say Cheese!

To help improve control of your lips, practice smiling in front of a mirror. Smile, then relax. Repeat as much as you can stand.

The mirror is important because it provides feedback, which is fuel for your brain!

5. Practices Your Kissy Face

woman puckering lips for speech therapy exercises

When you’re done practicing those smiles, move onto making kissy faces by puckering your lips. Pucker your lips together, then relax. Repeat 10 times in front of the mirror.

6. Consonant & Vowel Pairing Repetition

Once you have exercised your tongue, you can start to practice making sounds.

Take a consonant that you have trouble saying, and then pair it with each of the 5 vowels (a, e, i, o, u).

For example, if you have trouble with the “r” sound, then practice saying “ra, re, ri, ro, ru” over and over.

If you really struggle with each sound, then you can try saying each one individually over and over. For example, start by saying “ra” 20 times. Then move onto “re” 20 times; etc.

Repeat this for all sounds that you have difficulty with.

7. Exercise with Speech Therapy Apps

patient using an app for recovering speech after stroke

While the exercises above are a great place to start, they aren’t tailored to your unique problem areas.

If you suffer from aphasia after stroke, then it’s a great idea to try using speech therapy apps like CT Speech and Cognitive Therapy App.

Speech therapy apps will assess your current ability levels and assign exercises that target your problem areas.

The interaction with the app makes it more engaging, too, so that you are motivated to get your reps in!

8. Word Games

empty crossword puzzle for speech rehabilitation after stroke

If you’re looking for other free exercises to try, here are a few that we recommend:

To work on your visual processing and comprehension, try computer games like solitaire or alchemy.

To exercise your problem solving and visual processing, try word games like word searches or crossword puzzles.

To exercise your comprehension, try puzzle games like Sudoku.

Most brain games will help improve speech when you practice them regularly.

What to Do If You Can’t Talk At All

If you can’t talk after stroke or brain injury, it’s likely because a massive stroke or severe TBI significantly impaired the language center of the brain. Luckily, there’s still hope for recovery!

Surprisingly, even if someone can’t speak their words, they can usually sing their words.

This is because speech is a left-brain function but singing is a creative right-brain function.

A unique approach called singing therapy helps patients capitalize on this opportunity for recovery.

Many people who had difficulty learning to speak again after brain injury or stroke often have great success with singing therapy.

Which Problem Areas Do You Need Covered?

speech is a left brain function while singing is a right brain function

If you’re trying to improve your speech after stroke, it’s important to identify which areas of speech you need to work on.

Surprisingly, there are many functions that go into speech, like:

  • *Speaking
  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Comprehension
  • Attention
  • Memory
  • Visual processing
  • Problem-solving

*The speech therapy exercises in this article mostly focus on your speaking ability. They don’t focus on much else.

This is why it’s an even better reason to use speech therapy apps and work with a speech-language pathologist.

Should You Work with a Speech-Language Pathologist?

If you struggle with speech and cognitive skills, then you should consider working with a speech-language pathologist (SLP).

An SLP is trained to help you recover speech after neurological injury, and they work with all areas of speech recovery that we listed earlier.

Most people work with an SLP for as long as insurance will cover, and then move onto speech apps when insurance cuts them off.

Doing the Best Speech Therapy Exercises

Overall, the best speech therapy exercises are the ones you practice repetitively and consistently. That’s how the brain recovers.

However, because many different skills go into speech, it’s important to cover all your bases by working with an SLP or using speech therapy apps.

And if you have trouble getting started because you can’t talk at all, then singing therapy is a great option to look into.

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