One of the most common causes of communication disabilities in adults are strokes and the neurological damage that follows. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, either by a blockage or leak. In both cases, the individual is at risk for severe damage to the brain. However, the faster it is recognized that the individual is suffering a stroke and the sooner they receive medical attention, the better the odds that damage will be less severe. Unfortunately, the effects of a stroke may be subtle at first, delaying recognition of the problem and medical attention. How can you tell if a person is having a stroke? Use the first three letters of the word as a tool to help you remember some of the basic signs:
S: Smile and Stick Out Your Tongue: Ask the person to smile and stick out their tongue. Check to see if either side of the smile seems to droop or if the tongue leans to one side or seems “crooked”.
T: Talk: Ask the person a simple question or ask them to repeat a sentence after you. Check to see if their speech is slurred in any way.
R: Raise: Ask the person to raise both arms. Check to see if their arms raise unevenly with one significantly higher than the other.
If the person in question has difficulty with any of these tasks, call emergency medical help immediately. If they are having a stroke, every minute counts and could save them important brain function that they may otherwise loose.
Rehabilitation after a stroke requires the help of a range of professionals, including speech-language pathologists. A speech-therapist can help in a variety of ways, depending on the location and extent of the brain damage. Often, they will help the person to produce clear speech and to recover language which they have lost. Other aspects of communication, such as conversational rules, may also be addressed. In the event that a person loses the ability to speak altogether, the speech-language pathologist may also assist the patient in choosing and learning to operate an alternative communication device, such as a computer which speaks for them.
Have you or someone you know experienced a stroke? Contact us today at www.speechassociatesofny.com and let us find the perfect speech therapist to help you recover language and communication to the best of your ability.