Stroke is a very complex disease. Speech disorder is one of the most common mental disorders seen in stroke. The disease can happen at almost any age. Distinguish between ischemic and hemorrhagic types of stroke. Both the one and the other require long-term restoration of the physical and mental functions of the body. Doctors have developed special exercises to restore speech after a stroke, which you can do yourself at home.
For a normal perception of what is happening around, a person needs an understanding of speech and the ability to reproduce words himself and build sentences from them. Correct pronunciation and understanding of what is said is vital for a fulfilling life.
How long the recovery process will take depends on many factors, including the stubbornness of doctors, relatives and the patient himself. For some, it ranges from several weeks to a couple of months, for others it can take longer. Unfortunately, there are those who still fail to speak.
Aphasia (impaired ability to speak) develops due to damage to the speech area of the brain.
In order to choose the right treatment method, you should understand the type of violation.
The following types of aphasia are distinguished:
- Total – the patient is not able to say anything himself and understand what they are trying to tell him. He does not remember anything and does not recognize anyone.
- Motor – often this type is replaced by a total one a few days after a stroke. The patient recognizes relatives and friends, understands what they are saying to him, but he cannot say anything himself. Over time may try to reproduce sounds using intonation for better understanding.
In this case, violations of the Broca’s center (speech motor), which is responsible for motor function, are observed. The patient understands everything, but he cannot reproduce the speech himself. A person often reproduces sounds, but cannot correctly combine them, confuses sounds similar in articulation.
- Wernicke’s aphasia (sensory). With this type of disorder, the patient does not understand his native language. He perceives it as a set of sounds and does not grasp the meaning of what was said. In this case, it is rather difficult to determine the extent of the violation.
- Semantic. The patient understands only simple sentences. Complex speech patterns defy his understanding.
- Amnestic. The patient can conduct a dialogue, but often forgets the names of objects.
Sensory aphasia is considered the most dangerous. Speech is very hard to recover.
Treatment should be carried out in the first 6 months after stroke, only then will the results be most effective. Classes can be started as soon as the patient’s condition stabilizes. No doctor can give a 100% guarantee that the patient will speak. But the systematic implementation of various exercises will help to maximize speech function.
In the first lessons, the presence of relatives is desirable, then both the patient is calmer, and the relatives know how to properly conduct training. A whole range of measures has been developed for treatment:
- Drug treatment.
- Articulation gymnastics with a speech therapist.
- Systematic exercise.
- Comfortable atmosphere.
Only if a person has a desire to get well, he will be surrounded with love and care, the result will be noticeable faster. Relatives should not avoid speech contact with the patient, no matter how difficult it may be. You need to speak calmly, not shout and pronounce every sound clearly. You constantly need to ask the names of certain items that a person uses: a cup, a spoon, a towel, a TV. It is good when he is often read, and he retells the meaning of what he read.
Important! It is never worth discussing the patient’s problems associated with impaired speech functions with him.
You always need to be encouraged and praised for even the smallest victories. People after a stroke poorly distinguish words that sound similar. Therefore, you can depict them in a picture and train to pronounce and distinguish them by ear. Patients do not distinguish words when several people are talking at once, this should be taken into account. As soon as a person starts to pronounce words, he can be given additional independent tasks, for example, insert the missing word into a sentence. Watching TV is best limited to 2 hours a day. You need to include positive programs of interest, which will encourage comments.
Those close to you need to stock up on incredible patience. Stroke is a very serious and complex disease, the consequences of which are not so easy to eliminate.
Tips for relatives
A person who feels like a burden very rarely achieves good results. A patient who understands everything, but cannot say anything, feels helpless.
Therefore, you should adhere to simple rules:
- You should not talk to a person as if they were doomed. You need to conduct a conversation with him calmly, carefully observe the reaction and all the changes.
- The patient should not communicate with aggressive or indifferent persons. He should be surrounded by close and loving people.
- It is recommended to include your favorite music, encouraging the patient to sing along.
- Speak and listen. Only if a person feels the importance of what he said to others, he will try to speak.
- Do not tire too much: “The quieter you go, the further you will be.”
These recommendations will help to quickly overcome difficulties and return a person to their usual life.
Working with a speech therapist
If there is a speech therapist in the hospital where the patient is lying, he will begin to deal with the patient as soon as possible. There is no time to waste. Work can continue after discharge, and then independently at home.
Working with a specialist:
- The speech therapist carefully probes the extent of the damage, he checks the patient’s reaction to a quiet voice, then to a whisper.
- Gradually complicates tasks.
- The specialist does not teach to pronounce individual words and sounds, it is important for him to hear them in context, the patient must learn to use them in speech.
- Exercises are selected individually, based on the type of aphasia.
- The specialist starts the sentence, the patient finishes it.
- If the patient has favorite songs, the specialist will definitely use them in his work.
- If the patient’s condition has improved, the doctor may offer to sketch the proposed pictures.
At first, speech therapist lessons last no more than 15 minutes, gradually increasing the time.
Important! The disappointment of relatives is read on their face, and this is negatively reflected in the patient’s aspirations. You should carefully monitor facial expressions and enjoy even the smallest progress.
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Exercises for self-fulfillment
Self-study plays a huge role in the rapid improvement of speech function. After discharge, the patient periodically visits a speech therapist who assesses the presence of improvements and recommends which activities should be performed.
Each exercise should be repeated 10 times:
- Pull the lips into a tube and fix them in this position for a few seconds.
- Bite lightly on the upper lip with your lower teeth.
- Stretch the upper jaw towards the chin.
Tasks for the language:
- Draw out the tongue with a tube.
- Stretch the neck forward as much as possible, while the mouth is open, and the tongue is sticking out as much as possible.
- Perform the previous exercise with a hiss.
- Pull the neck forward, and fold the lips in a tube.
- Lick your lips in a circle, first in one direction, then in the other.
- Emit “clatter” sounds.
- Pull your tongue towards the nose, then the chin.
End the lesson with positive exercises such as blowing kisses, smiling with bared teeth, and then smiling with lips behind them. Great results are seen in group sessions where patients can support each other.
Important! A patient who has suffered a stroke should pronounce tongue twisters, read speech therapy texts aloud, hum songs and build logical chains.
In case of slurred speech and to improve your voice, it is recommended to massage the tongue with a regular toothbrush in the morning and evening. This exercise relaxes the organ and helps improve speech.
Treatment with medicines
Humanity has not yet invented such a pill that would help restore speech. Medicines prescribed by a doctor are aimed at improving blood circulation in the brain and nourishing nerve cells. They improve mental activity and memory, increase attention, which together have a positive effect on the general condition of the body.
In cases of ischemic stroke, when all methods have been tried, there remains one more – the formation of an extra-intracranial microanastomosis. This is an operation during which neurosurgeons create an additional connection between parts of the brain: an intact vessel and the speech area. Blood circulation resumes, and the patient’s condition improves rapidly.
Speech disorders are observed not only with violations of the corresponding area of the brain, but also with paralysis of facial muscles. They cannot do their job, so the person loses speech function. Exercise therapy helps to restore the ability to speak.
Treatment with stem cells
Modern medicine never ceases to amaze. Now it is possible to restore speech using stem cells. Such therapy helps not only to restore speech, but also to start the protective functions of the body, awaken the desire to recover and speak as quickly as possible. Stem cell transplants are performed twice on an outpatient basis. The second time is 3 months after the first. Vessels are restored, plaques and blood clots are eliminated. New cells begin to build in the affected areas.
The maximum restoration of speech function should be carried out in the first year after a stroke, rehabilitation can continue up to 5 years. After this, the disorders that the patient has, remain forever. All exercises that are carried out to restore speech after a stroke must be performed regularly and systematically. Only then will they be of real benefit.
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