Many people who have suffered a stroke will have communication problems or swallowing difficulties as a result.


Dysphasia (also known as aphasia) is in impairment in the ability to process language. This often occurs where the stroke has affected the right side of the body. Spoken language, understanding of speech, reading and writing may be affected in varying degrees. It is as if the person’s own language has become like a foreign language to them. There are different types of dysphasia, some result in fluent speech with very little meaning, while in others the speech is more “telegrammatic” but makes sense to the listener. Many people with dysphasia experience “word finding difficulty” where they know what they want to say, but they cannot find the correct word, or they produce a different one instead.

In the weeks and months following a stroke, there is usually some degree of spontaneous recovery. SLT can help to speed this up, and make sure that it keeps going for as long as possible. The brain is remarkably “plastic”, that is it can adapt itself to do things in different ways. Some dysphasia therapy probably works by re-training the brain to do what it did before the stroke, but using different pathways, bypassing the damaged area.

SLT is also important in minimising the frustration experienced by the dysphasic person and their loved ones. Generally speaking, with dysphasia, the more relaxed the person is, the better their communication will be.

The Solution Focused approach seems to work very well with people with dysphasia. Concentrating on what works well not only makes everyone feel better, but actually results in better communication too!


Dyspraxia is a disorder of co-ordination, and can affect speech. The result can be inaccurate production of speech sounds and words, and reduced intelligibility. It often occurs alongside dysphasia. Some of the treatment methods are similar to those for dysphasia


Dysarthia is where the physical movements of speech are impaired. This can make the speech sound different (eg slurred, or too nasal) and can also affect intelligibility. Treatment for this often consists of various physical exercises of the speech muscles, and development of strategies to improve the quality of speech.


Dysphagia is a disorder of swallowing affecting the mouth and throat. Many people who have strokes have dysphagia in the early stages, and this needs to be managed carefully to avoid food and drink dropping into the trachea (windpipe) and then entering the lungs, which can cause chest infections. SLTs usually assess the patient with dysphagia in hospital. If the dysphagia persists after the first few weeks, the SLT will continue to be involved, giving exercises to help with recovery, and also helping to develop a regime which will make eating and drinking as pleasant and safe as possible.