Project Description

Speech Therapy Exercises for Stroke Patients

One of the most common effects of a stroke, a neurological condition that occurs when blood cannot reach a particular area of the brain, is the impairment of speech and poor language control. The many forms of speech disorders that can affect stroke patients are generally grouped under the term aphasia. Aphasia is defined as a language and/or speech disorder that can affect speech, writing, reading and communication in general.

Recovering language after a stroke is more complex than recovering motor skills such as moving limbs and walking. This is because language is a higher- order function that requires thinking and cognition.

While some stroke patients automatically return to normal speech patterns after the stroke, others may need speech therapy to facilitate recovery. It has recently been shown that if on the one hand intensive therapy for aphasia does not seem to be very beneficial after a stroke, on the other, spreading a tailored therapy over a longer period of time enhances recovery.

Below, we will see the best speech therapy exercises that support rehabilitation after a stroke.

Tongue Exercises

Your tongue is a muscle, and as for all muscles, exercise is good! Tongue stretching exercises help strengthen the muscle and make it easier to produce appropriate sounds to form words.
A very useful speech therapy exercises for stroke patients is moving the tongue in and out. Just push your tongue out for a few seconds and then pull it back. It is advisable to repeat this process several times a day.

In the same way, you can exercise muscle memory and re-teach your brain how to control the tongue during speech, by moving the tongue from the right side to the left side, or from above, looking for the nose, downwards, looking for the chin, with an interval of at least two seconds on each side.

speech therapy for stroke

Exercise through Breathing

A common symptom of aphasia and speech issues in stroke patients is the difficulty in pacing breathing while speaking. This can cause the person to have to stop and catch their breath in the middle of a sentence, making it difficult to speak at length and for others to understand.

Breathing exercises can help plan pauses as you relearn how to build sentences and breathe correctly while speaking. Practice planning your breaths as you speak, according to your own timing, by repeating sentences to yourself so as to master timing on when you need to take a breath.

speech therapy for stroke patients

Kiss and Smile Exercises

Another simple speech therapy exercise that improves oral motor skills after a stroke is to practice smiling in front of a mirror. Smile, then relax, repeating this as many times as possible.

The mirror is important because it provides feedback to your brain and allows you to see where you need correcting. When you are done practicing with smiles, try making kiss faces by curling your lips. Pucker your lips, then relax. Repeat frequently. Even better control is possible by slowing down the movement.

Speech Therapy Exercises for Sound

Other exercises involve the repetition of similar sounds, generally associating a vowel with a consonant, for example: “ra, re, ri, ro, ru … etc.” Practice repeating this sequence many times in a row before moving on to another. This will allow the mouth and tongue to practice forming sounds and words.
You should focus on the clarity of the sound (making it as clear and understandable as possible) and the strength (making it strong to strengthen the throat and be understandable).
You can also practice repeating specific words to get correct sounds and movements. As you improve, you can increase the difficulty of the words you repeat.

Exercises with Pictures and Playful Activities

For some stroke patients, the issue is in the actual formation of words, while for others the thinking process in word formation in itself is more difficult.
You can strengthen the connection between words and things by testing yourself by looking at pictures and practice pronouncing the depicted word. Try repeating this word several times to truly master the pronunciation and use of the muscles of the mouth and tongue.
You can also try some interactive speech therapy exercises for rehabilitation through recreational activities such as naming pictures, memory games and mental training apps. Even if you don’t produce actual words, these games test your language processing skills. For example, computer games, such as solitaire, to exercise the visual process and understanding; or word games, such as crosswords, to practice the visual process and problem solving.

What should people do if they are unable to Speak after a Stroke?

Those who are unable to speak at all after a stroke unfortunately will not be able to practice most of the speech therapy exercises mentioned above. However, you can take a step back and use another unique speech therapy approach: singing therapy.
Surprisingly, in fact, even those who cannot speak can usually sing the words they want to express. This is because speech is a function of the left brain while singing is a function of the right brain. Many people who have had a hard time relearning to speak after a head injury or stroke often have an excellent chance of recovery with singing therapy.

speech therapy for stroke patients

Should we rely on Speech Therapy for Rehabilitation after a Stroke?

The recovery of speech and communication does not begin and end with saying words. More broadly, this involves understanding the words to say, how to say them, when to breathe and how to form complete sentences.

Relying immediately on a path with a professional helps to set the basis for a correct rehabilitation and to understand which speech therapy exercises are particularly functional after an ictus. Neuroplasticity is activated with repetitive stimulation, so consistent speech therapy is needed for best results.

Medelit has many years of experience in bringing speech therapy directly to patients’ home. The Home Speech Therapy service is available in the area of London. and Greater London. However, whoever is in an area not yet covered by the home service or those living in isolated areas far from clinics, still has the possibility to be followed by our highly specialised speech therapists, thanks to the Online Speech Therapy service. A simple mobile phone or computer is all you need to access online speech therapy.

In the rehabilitation process, the speech therapist works in close contact with the other members of the rehabilitation team, which usually includes specialists such as Neurologists, Physiatrists, Physiotherapists and Psychologists. Medelit provides all these figures who intervene in an integrated and coordinated way, giving you the possibility of accessing a complete private rehabilitation center providing tailored treatment at the highest standards, directly in your home and allowing you to fully optimize recovery.

For more information contact our operations center directly by phone at 020 36375657, or write to us directly via chat from this page.

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