Some problems that happen after stroke are more common with stroke on one side of the brain than the other. In most people, the left side of the brain controls the ability to speak and understand language. The right side of the brain controls the ability to pay
attention, recognize things you see, hear or touch, and be aware of your own body.
In some left-handed people, language is controlled by the right side of the brain and awareness by the left side of the brain.
The following information is for the most common situation of language control on the left side of the brain.
You may not recall the names of everyday objects.
Aphasia is a language problem that affects your ability to:
How much trouble you have with aphasia depends on the type and severity of your brain injury.
Aphasia means you have problems speaking and understanding language. You may be unable to find the words you need or put sentences together. This is like having a word "on the tip of your tongue." Not all strokes cause aphasia.
To know why a stroke can cause so many different problems, it is helpful to understand how speech works. Communicating a message means you think about what you want to say, put your thoughts into words and say the words aloud. Understanding a message means you know someone wants to say something,
you keep the words in mind and put the words together.
Your brain controls the complex steps needed to speak and understand language. That's why injury to the brain—such as lack of blood flow during a stroke—can get in the way of your ability to do these steps. Different problems result depending on the location and severity of the stroke.
If you have aphasia, you should have your speech and language checked. A speech-language pathologist (or
speech therapist) must see how well you can speak and understand. The exam includes:
You may have problems in some or all four areas. For example, you may have problems reading and writing but not in talking.
This exam can also show which areas of speech and language have been least affected.
how to communicate with someone who has aphasia.
You may not be able to do purposeful movements even though
your muscles and senses are working normally.
Verbal apraxia is a motor speech problem. This means you are
not able to coordinate the movement of your mouth to form
words or sounds.
It is not caused by loss of feeling or muscle weakness.
You know the right words, but you have problems forming
words or putting sounds together.
You may have problems with word pronunciation:
Allina Health Patient Education, Understanding Stroke: Information about Stroke and Recovery, fourth edition, ISBN 1-931876-13-4
Allina Health Patient Education experts