After a stroke, you may experience:
- Physical difficulites (particulary in the arm, leg, and face on one side of the body)
- Cognitive (thinking) problems
- Speech and language problems
You can expect some degree of “spontaneous recovery” in the days, weeks, and months immediately following the stroke. During this time, physical, cognitive, and communication deficits may improve on their own as the brain heals. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services can enhance this spontaneous recovery.
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are trained to work with people with a variety of speech and language disorders, including aphasia, dysarthria, or apraxia. A SLP can help the person improve communication skills beyond what will naturally occur after the stroke. SLPs also teach strategies to overcome communication deficits.
If you experience a stroke, you should expect some degree of spontaneous recovery in the first 6 months or so after the stroke. Recovery may continue for over a year and throughout your lifetime. Your degree of recovery depends on the severity and location of the stroke. It is very difficult to predict. Many times, improvements in physical abilities occur more rapidly than in communication and cannot be used as a predictor for future speech and language improvements.
Many people with aphasia and their families have written about living with aphasia. They note that having a positive attitude and learning from others’ experiences are keys to success in life after stroke. Reading personal accounts, using the Internet for information, and joining support groups are some ways that you and your family can learn about life with aphasia. Realizing that depression often follows a stroke, and knowing how to handle this depression, is also very important.
For more information on aphasia, dysarthria, or apraxia, please visit the “Adults” tab.