Language Problems After a Stroke

Most common language problems after a stroke


Language difficulties are common in people who've had strokes. Stroke victims may have trouble speaking or understanding speech, a problem known as aphasia.

Aphasia can take many forms:

  • Anomic aphasia: difficulty naming objects or places
  • Conduction aphasia: somewhat normal speech, but the person can't repeat what another person has said
  • Expressive or Broca's aphasia: thoughts can't be expressed at all
  • Fluent aphasia: speech may sound normal, but incorrect words and sounds are substituted
  • Nonfluent aphasia: speech is slow and difficult, and words are often left out
  • Global aphasia: difficulty with all language functions
  • Receptive or Wernicke's aphasia: sounds are heard but not understood

Other common language problems

Other common language difficulties include:

  • speech apraxia: difficulty planning the physical movements necessary for speech
  • dysarthria: difficulty or inability articulating speech
  • writing impairment: which also includes difficulty reading

What you can do to help a stroke victim with language problems

  • Consult a speech therapist. A therapist will help a stroke victim relearn language skills, and she can help you come up with strategies for communicating.
  • Don't yell. Speak in a normal voice.
  • Avoid slang. Use simple words and short sentences.
  • Try using gestures. Point at objects, or make picture cards.
  • "Jump start" his communication. If he's having a hard time remembering a word or phrase, you can sometimes help get his speech going by making the first sound of a word. But first give him some extra time to get the words out.
  • Acknowledge that this is a frustrating and difficult situation for both of you. If you need to take a break, give yourself a short time-out.
  • Keep your sense of humor. Although the person in your care may have a hard time understanding abstract jokes, you can defuse a lot of frustration simply by laughing -- as long as he knows that you're laughing with him, not at him.

Stephanie Trelogan

Stephanie Trelogan is a past Caring. See full bio

about 6 years ago, said...

Thanks , My husband is a stroke victim he's only 42 years! this article is very helpful .