Each year nearly 800,000 people experience a stroke. Rehabilitation is often recommended for patients recovering from a stroke, but health experts say patients often require speech therapy as well to help them relearn how to speak, even swallow.
Leslie Roth, a speech therapist for Lee Memorial Health System, says the lasting results from a stroke can be life changing. “One day you’re on the golf course, or you’re driving a car, or you’re swimming at the pool, the next day boom your life completely turns upside down.”
Roth says speech therapy plays an important role in helping patients relearn how to communicate. “One of the main things that I work on is when the patient has aphasia. Aphasia is a language disorder as a result of a stroke or a traumatic brain injury.”
She says after a stroke, a patient may have difficulty speaking or remembering words, even though they know what they are trying to say. Depending on the severity of the stroke, the patient may even have problems understanding what people are saying. “What I tap into is what are they able to do? How can they communicate? Even if it’s in a word, a sound, pointing to a picture, we start there.”
It can be very frustrating for patients, but she says the brain is very resilient. Every stroke is different. With constant therapy and patience, patients can have tremendous outcomes. “Every single day, a little bit of something does make a difference.” She says without therapy and practice, a patient’s communications skills typically won’t improve.
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Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.