Terry using a communication aid after a stroke


Terry, aged 35 years had a stroke two years ago. Following the stroke she was not able to walk, her right side paralysed; and she could not say any words at all. To begin with she found listening really difficult, she seemed surrounded by noise and this was very tiring. Eventually, whilst still in hospital, she began to make sense of who people were and what they were saying but her speech was not coming back. This was a really tough time for her and her family. Her two girls (aged 7 and 4) were very scared and upset about their mum and just wanted her home. Terry’s husband had had to take extended leave from work to look after the girls.

After four months Terry was home. She was able to move around the house with a walking aid but still her words had not come back. By this time she was using a communication aid which she could spell words into and it would speak out her words. She had stored some quick fire sentences, ‘girls stop doing that’ being one frequently used!

Over the next six months or so she became quite depressed and lonely, because getting out of the house was so difficult and communication with people was so slow. Her speech and language therapist got her involved with an organisation called Speakeasy and someone from the group came to visit at home and then started going with Terry on days out. This was when Terry realised that the communication aid was just brilliant. Her own speech had not really returned but her spelling was getting quicker again. Her biggest triumph that first year was going to her oldest girl’s school play and using her aid to chat with some of the other Mum’s. Terry still finds it difficult and can feel down about her speech but she is also getting out and about more and starting to do some of the things she used to before she had a stoke.

Things you may want to look into: aphasia, Speakeasy and other helpful organisations

December 2012