" I couldn’t speak at all initially. I had speech therapy for 6 months which helped me to regain some basic speech, but there was no ongoing improvement and my speech remained very limited. I then had another 6 months of therapy 3 years ago but there was very little improvement. I also have difficulty with reading and writing as my concentration is limited and I can only read for short periods of time.
"Words containing more than two syllables are a real challenge and I can’t remember how to spell words or put them in the right order to create a sentence. Having aphasia has affected my social life; not having the ability to communicate makes it very difficult to maintain friendships or make new ones as I’m afraid of not being understood or misunderstood. I worry what people will think of me so I avoid putting myself in unfamiliar situations with people I don’t know.
"My friends are the people that I’ve met at my stroke support group and at The Brain Charity; even within those groups I was lacking the confidence to join in conversations. In 2018 I took part in a speech therapy course at the Charity which has helped me to increase my vocabulary and I’m starting to speak in complete sentences which is something I’d not managed to do previously. An improvement in my speech has really boosted my confidence and I feel that I can start to go out and about more and meet new people as I sound ‘less different’ now.”
Pamela liked how the sessions were specifically tailored to each individual and found the advice of taking her time when speaking so she could think about what she wanted to say, rather than trying to rush her words out, really worked for her. The sessions also moved at a pace to suit her.
We were able to run the speech therapy course for free on this occasion due to a generous private donation, but we hope to secure funding in the future to be able to carry on offering sessions so that others can benefit from the one to one therapy.
The ‘Stroke Friends’ support group meets on Monday afternoons at 2-4pm in the café at our Norton Street building and new members are always welcome.
* Aphasia is an impairment of language which affects the production or comprehension of speech along with the ability to read and write. Aphasia can happen when there is a brain injury and most commonly occurs following a stroke.