Family members can be more understanding and helpful by practicing a few simple tips while the stroke survivor improves their communication.
- Sit and talk in quiet distraction free environments
- Ask yes and no questions
- Modify the length and complexity of conversations
- Establish a topic before beginning conversations
- Use gestures to emphasize important points.
Speech exercises are very important for treating Aphasia
More importantly is to practice the skills frequently and with repetition. The brain retrains by activating the neuroplasticity of the healthy surrounding areas of the brain. Rewiring and restructuring of the brain is a must. Family members can help by attending a session with the patient and Speech and Language Pathologist learning simple and important skills to retrain the brain. Each exercise should be done 3-5 times a day, 20 times each 6 days a week. Repetition gains results.
Six (6) simple exercises to start with, in front of a mirror
hold each for 2 seconds:
- Tongue In-and-out – stick the tongue out, pull it back in
- Tongue side-to-side – with mouth open, touch the right corner of the mouth then the left corner of the mouth
- Tongue Up-and -down – with the mouth open, reach the tongue to the nose, reach the tongue to the chin
- Say Cheese – practice smiling then relax
- Practice kissy face – pucker your lips then relax
- Consonant and Vowel Pairing – take a consonant that is difficult to say and pair it with the 5 vowels. For example, if “T” is hard to say practice “Ta, Te, Ti, To, Tu”. Say each one “Ta” 20 times then move to the next.
We are lucky to be in the digital age.
Download and app and continue with retraining the brain thru repetition and challenges. The Applications can also be used for dementia and cognitive difficulties. You can discuss setting up the apps with a Speech Therapist to focus on the most important aspects of the brain to be trained. Some suggestions are:
- Luminosity – brain training app for adults of all ages.
- What’s the Difference – assists with thinking, reasoning and problem solving
- Tactus Therapy – designed specifically for aphasia stroke survivors
- Lingraphica Small Talk Oral Exercises – seriously useful repetition
- Constant Therapy – A clinician will assist in building a program that will help strengthen the areas which need the most help. Involves naming, matching and pattern relocation.
For more information on Stroke recovery and what to expect go to Flint Rehab Tools to Spark Recovery. This site does a great job of conveying all the facts and providing clear informative information. They also have downloadable workbooks for stroke survivor “must know”, Exercises and more.