Speech and language
About one third of stroke survivors have trouble with speech and language.
Communication involves many different parts of the brain, so a stroke can lead to a wide range of problems. Common difficulties include:
- Aphasia (or dysphasia)
The parts of your brain that contain language may be damaged. This can affect your speaking, listening, reading and writing.
You may have weakness or paralysis of the muscles you use to speak, such as in your lips or tongue. This might make your speech slurred or difficult for others to understand.
- Apraxia or dyspraxia of speech
Messages from your brain to your mouth are disrupted. This can make it difficult for you to coordinate your mouth movements when speaking.
- Voice problems
A stroke can make the vocal cords weak or paralysed. This can affect the quality of your voice.
- Cognitive-communication disorder
Problems with thinking and planning can affect your verbal and non-verbal communication. You may have difficulty interacting with others, paying attention in conversation or communicating appropriately.
Recovering after stroke
Speech and language recovery after stroke is often slow, and it is difficult to know how much someone will recover. Most improvement happens in the first six months, but it can continue for years after a stroke.
A speech pathologist can help with treatment for your specific difficulty. This might mean working with them on your own or in a group. You may use a computer or tablet to work through exercises.
You may also be given new ways to communicate, such as using gestures, or a board, book or computer. Your speech pathologist can also help your family and friends learn to help you communicate.
For more information
See the Stroke Foundation’s fact sheet Communication after stroke.
You may have trouble with speech and language after stroke.
This can include trouble speaking, understanding others, reading and writing.
You might also have trouble understanding body language and gestures.
Aphasia or dysphasia
You can have trouble talking, reading, writing or understanding others when they speak.
This is called aphasia or dysphasia
Apraxia or dyspraxia
You can have trouble planning how to move your lips and tongue.
This is called apraxia or dyspraxia.
The muscles you use to talk can become weak.
This causes your speech to be slurred or unclear.
This is called dysarthria.
You can have problems with your voice.
These can be caused by weakness in your vocal cords.
Reading and writing
You can have physical problems that make it hard to write and see.
You may also have problems knowing what words mean or which word to use.
Recovering after stroke
Speech and language recovery after stroke is often slow.
It is hard to know how much someone will recover.
Most recovery takes place in the first six months.
Recovery can continue for years after a stroke.
A speech pathologist can help.
The speech pathologist might give you a computer or tablet to do exercises.
You may need new ways to communicate.
This can include using signs, or a board, book or computer.
Your speech pathologist can also work with your family and friends to help you communicate.