Better Speech and Hearing Month: Stroke and Aphasia

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month! So SANY is dedicating this month’s blogs to raising awareness about different types of communication disorders. This week, we focus on some of the communication difficulties that people may experience after having a stroke.

On average, someone in theUnited Stateshas a stroke every 40 seconds. A stroke is a sudden interruption in a person’s blood supply to the brain. Strokes can occur suddenly and without warning. Immediate treatment is imperative to maximize the chance for survival and minimize long-term damage.

The effects of a stroke depend on what part of the brain is injured and how severely. When damage is done to the areas of the brain that control language, a communication disorder called aphasia can result. Aphasia can affect an individual’s ability to produce or understand language. While there are many subtypes of aphasia, in today’s blog we will provide a brief overview of the two groupings of aphasia: expressive and receptive.

Expressive aphasia impairs the individual’s ability to express themselves through language. This can affect both speaking and writing. While the person may be cognitively fine and physically able to move their mouth to form words, damage to the area of the brain that produces language prevents them from making the connection required to do so accurately. Individuals with expressive aphasia can range from mild (e.g. showing only slight word-finding difficulties) to severe (e.g. almost completely unable to speak).

Receptive aphasia impairs the individual’s ability to understand language, either through listening or reading. The person’s hearing and intelligence may be perfectly intact, but the cerebral connection required to interpret language prevents the individual from understanding. Often, individuals with receptive aphasia are not fully aware of their communication disorder. Like expressive aphasia, the severity of the disorder can range from mild to severe.

Individuals with both receptive and expressive aphasia can benefit from the services of a speech-language pathologist. A trained speech-language pathologist can evaluate the individual’s strengths and challenges and create a speech or language therapy program designed specifically for that individual. This can not only help to improve the individual’s speech and language skills, but their quality of life through better communication.

 If you or a loved one are experiencing a communication disorder, contact Speech Associates of New York today to find a professional speech-language pathologist who can help you communicate to your fullest. Remember, early intervention is the key to maintaining and developing strong communication skills.

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