Emily, 71, had a stroke which altered her speech and her ability to make herself understood to both people who were familiar with her and strangers. She was upset about the way people spoke to her, as she had no difficulties with understanding or knowing what she wanted to say, but people spoke to her like she did. Emily’s speech was unclear and quiet making it difficult to carry on with her normal social activities. Emily’s goals of therapy were to be able to make her speech more distinct and louder. She really wanted to be understood by her grandchildren so she could have a conversation when they came to visit. She also wanted to be understood when she spoke to the bus driver and spoke to somebody at her local shop.
Emily was seen for speech and language therapy for 8 weeks, she had a 60 minute session once a week, with a home programme to complete across the week. Therapy focussed on both being an advocate for herself and how she wanted others to communicate with her and on her speech. Through intensive practise of speech and voice generation, strategies and of real life activities Emily saw significant improvement. She reported a real change in how her family were communicating with her and felt confident to manage the expectations of strangers on the phone or out and about. Together with improved speech clarity and consistent use of strategies she was able to speak to her grandchildren with only occasional need to repeat herself and felt confident speaking to the bus driver and other strangers she met.