Saturday, March 14, 2015

Stroke Rehabilitation - Language

Dick Burns
Live or Die: A Stroke of Good Luck
May 20, 2012

You're reading number Nine in this series examining the physical problems that stroke survivors must face and conquer as he or she progresses through recovery:  lost movement of body and limbs, lost skills of daily living, meeting the obligations of life.  Please note that we refer to "survivors," not "victims" and always remember that problems can really be opportunities.

Let's first discuss the problems of speaking and understanding language.  The medical tern is "aphasia."

At least one quarter of all stroke survivors experience some form of language impairment.  It may involve the the ability to speak, convey thoughts properly (the brain knows but communication with the mouth doesn't "sync." and the thoughts cannot be conveyed properly),  write or even understand the spoken or written language.  Damage to the left side of the brain (for right-handed individuals and even some left-handed) causes what is called "expressive aphasia" and the individual loses the ability to speak the words he/she is thinking and to put words together in a coherent manner  In contrast, damage to the language center in the rear of the brain results in "receptive aphasia" and people with this disorder have difficulty understanding written or spoken language and often have incoherent speech.  (they may have grammatically correct sentences but the words together are often devoid of any meaning. And the most severe form, called "global aphasia" represents damage to many areas of the brain and people with this complication lose all their abilities to understand language or convey any thoughts.  

Sounds pretty awful and daunting but please take it from one who's been there (I guess I had all three):  I'm able to write this blog.  After time I taught and gave presentations and speeches.   Always remember, nothing is impossible if you have hope and the knowledge and willingness to take on one problem at a time, make it well and then move on to the next.

Eventually you'll make everything, and you, well.

Dick Burns

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