Stroke and speech difficulties
Question: Two of our friends have recently suffered a stroke but their problems are so different. One has difficulty finding the correct words to say but he can walk with a cane and the other speaks well but thinks he can stand and walk when his left leg is too weak to hold him up. Why are they so drastically different?
Answer: It sounds as though one of your friends has experienced left hemisphere damage; the individual experiencing word-problems. Other deficits this person may exhibit might include:
- The inability to recognize/name objects or persons,
- Perseveration or the repeating of words, phrases or sentences,
- Jargon or incoherent speech,
- Problems with auditory or reading comprehension
- Weakness causing slurred speech and
- Swallowing problems.
Your other friend appears to have had right hemisphere damage; the individual demonstrating poor judgment. Additional problems commonly seen in these patients might include:
- Distractibility and short attention span,
- Disorientation, confusion and memory difficulty,
- Impulsivity- wanting to do things quickly without thinking of the consequences,
- Left visual field loss with neglect to the left side of his body,
- Decreased eye contact
- Weakness with slurred speech and swallowing difficulty.
These individuals are often unsafe and require supervision.
A stroke involving the base of the brain can affect the following:
Speech-Language Pathologists, Physical Therapists, and Occupational Therapists are trained to evaluate and treat people who have suffered any type of stroke. They also educate and counsel these patients and their families in an attempt to help them deal better with their difficulties.