Monday, April 12, 2010

The struggle of speech problems

Many stroke survivors know the frustration. Can't remember the right word. Use the wrong word instead of the right one. Trying to say a word but it comes out as gibberish. The list goes on...

My most annoying issue was that from time to time, I would swap pronouns - he vs. she. It took several weeks of speech therapy. To this day - and I suspect not the only stroke survivor - every time I stumble over a word, I wonder: Was it the stroke, or just a simple error that anyone would have made?

One of those unanswerable questions.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Web site can answer other questions, though, or at least help in the search to find answers. Its brief explanation of aphasia:
What communication problems occur after a stroke?

After a stroke, some people experience language deficits ( aphasia ) that significantly impair their ability to communicate. These deficits vary depending on the extent and location of the damage. ...

* Difficulty sequencing thoughts together to tell a story
* Switching topics without warning, or seeming to "go off on tangents" without informing the listener
* Difficulty taking turns in conversation
* Problems maintaining a topic of conversation
* Trouble using an appropriate tone of voice
* Difficulties interpreting the subtleties of conversation (e.g., sarcasm, humor)
* Problems "keeping up" with others in a fast-paced interaction
* Reacting inappropriately; seeming overemotional (overreacting), impulsive, or "flat" (without emotional affect)
* Having little to no self-awareness of inappropriate actions or responses

(Image from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Click on the image for other resources.)

No comments: