Speech-language pathologists (S-LPs) can help.

More than two-thirds of people who have had a stroke experience communication and/or swallowing difficulties. Communication and swallowing difficulties often occur together, are usually most severe immediately after the stroke and often improve over time. Recovery can continue for many years and is most successful when rehabilitation is started as soon as possible after the stroke.

Communication difficulties experienced following stroke vary depending on the part of the brain affected by the stroke. Some people cannot speak at all, some know what they want to say but are unable to find the right words or pronounce the words properly, some have difficulty understanding the words they hear, and others may not be able to read and write.

Swallowing problems (dysphagia) often include problems such as choking, inhaling food or drink, or malnutrition and dehydration. People with swallowing problems are more likely to get pneumonia, which can be a serious medical complication and further affect stroke recovery.

S-LPs are experts in communication and swallowing difficulties and are core members of the stroke rehabilitation team. S-LPs assess communication and swallowing abilities and provide individualized therapy and strategies to help people who have had a stroke, their family members and caregivers.

Communication Difficulties Following Stroke

Communication difficulties that occur frequently after stroke are:

  • Aphasia
  • Dysarthria
  • Apraxia of Speech
  • Cognitive-Communication Disorders
  • Hearing Loss

Visit our stroke resource page for more information on all of these communication difficulties and the role played by S-LPs in treating them.

For Speech & Hearing Month 2021, we have also developed a poster to raise awareness about aphasia.