More Info on Therapy Following a Stroke
Speech and language problems arise when brain damage occurs in the language centers of the brain. Due to the brain's great ability to learn and change, which is called brain plasticity, other areas can adapt to take over some of the lost functions.
Speech therapy helps patients who have had strokes relearn language and speaking skills, or learn other forms of communication. Speech therapy is appropriate for patients who have no problems with cognition or thinking, but have problems understanding speech or written words, or problems forming speech.
Besides helping with language skills, speech therapy also helps patients develop coping skills to deal with the frustration of not being able to communicate fully. With time and patience, a stroke survivor should be able to regain some, and sometimes all, language and speaking abilities.
Many patients who have had a stroke require psychological or psychiatric help as part of their stroke treatment. Psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, frustration, and anger are common in people who have suffered a stroke.
Talk therapy, along with the right medication, can help ease some of the mental and emotional problems that result from a stroke. Sometimes it is helpful for family members of someone who has had a stroke to seek psychological help for themselves as well.
People who specialize in rehab following a stroke can include:
- Physicians, such as physiatrists (specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation), neurologists, internists, geriatricians (specialists in the elderly), and family practitioners
- Rehabilitation nurses, who specialize in nursing care for people with disabilities
- Physical therapists, who help to restore physical functioning by evaluating and treating problems with movement, balance, and coordination
- Occupational therapists, who provide exercises and practice to help patient perform activities of daily living
- Speech-language pathologists, who help improve language skills
- Social workers, who assist with financial decisions and plan the return to the home or new living quarters
- Psychologists, who help with the mental and emotional health of patients
- Therapeutic recreation specialists, who help patients return to activities they enjoyed before the stroke.