How did a speech-language pathologist help you?

My name is Gillian Grevstad.  I am in my second year at UBC studying speech-language pathology.

I really enjoyed the opportunities I had last year to learn from you members.

I liked helping read aloud in book club.

I also liked listening to panel discussions.


I have a question: How did your speech-language pathologist help you after your stroke? 

What was helpful? 

What was NOT helpful? 

What activities or strategies worked best? 

What do you do now to get better?


I’d love to hear your thoughts!


5 thoughts on “How did a speech-language pathologist help you?

  1. Hi Gillian

    I’m a group member of the aphasia mentor program.

    This program focuses with aphasia. Stroke affects different areas in the brain. Cognitive, communication, emotional, personal & social effects will challenge your lives. I wished it was a dream, but it is real. I could not face the truth. I didn’t know I had aphasia. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) can help me improve.

    After the stroke, the SLP needs to assess where I am and how to help me. I can be at different levels from others in speaking, listening, reading and writing. For myself doing a lot of homework motives me to become better. It’s was SLP to tell me, I have aphasia.

    It was not helpful to have SLP in group format. Each patient has different areas of aphasia. At G.F. Strong, only 2 days out of 5 was one on one and each day was only ½ hour long. There is not enough time for one on one in a group session. It’s nice to see other people with aphasia, but I need SLP to help me with learning.

    At Holy Family SLP, they had so many books on the shelves. There were aphasia cards and books with pictures and activities. It is used for “fun” at your aphasia level. They only give me a couple of pages for homework. For me, I would love to sit there and borrow the whole books for home!!!!! Can I have it?

    The stroke made my brain like a house was on fire. Some areas on my wallpaper were flaked. There are too many walls in my house. After some years, I cleaned each wall, but the flakes are still there. For some of it, I put more new wallpaper, but it is very weak. Sometimes it is very hard to stay on, but it sometimes falls down later. The only thing I can do is make my house the best I have. Everyday I struggle with aphasia. I am persistent.

  2. 1) How did your speech-language pathologist help you after your stroke?
    The first SLP helped me four days after my stroke. Because I could not speak, I was watched while I took my first bite lunch?applesauce and overcooked vegetables. I was watched because my stroke had left some paralysis and numbness in my face and the right side of my body and they wanted to know if I had some swallowing issues. I did not.
    After a week another SLP got me singing: ?I love you?. It took two one hour sessions then I phoned my wife and I performed.
    I had one more SLP who was able to teach me to talk after two weeks! My vocabulary was only a handful of words.
    Started with three SLP?s and continued for three years and over 30 SLP?s!
    2) What was helpful?
    My apraxia makes pronunciation difficult. Watching the SLP speak first, then trying to copy her helps. If it was too hard, we would breakdown the words into sounds.
    3) What was NOT helpful?
    Nothing was not helpful.
    All of the assistance I got from SLP?s was helpful. But the time I could get in front of the SLP was scarce. I needed help with speaking, writing, reading and understanding. I realized the ?key? for me to get better was speaking. If I could say the letters and words out loud I could spell them. If I could say the word in a sentence I could catch the meaning of the sentence. When I was asked to write and read, I would ask that we spend time on speaking rather than writing and reading.
    4) What activities or strategies worked best?
    Things that worked best for me were when an SLP got me to say sounds or words using internal clues. If I was unable to use an internal clue I would be prompted by the SLP with external clues. It takes an enormous effort both from the SLP and me to say sounds or words without external clues. Internal clues are better. Even after five years to say the ?F? sound I have to say in my mind ?FBI? first! Over time I believe my internal clues will not be needed unless I am exhausted.
    5) What do you do now to get better?
    I am very lucky. I have family, friends, acquaintances and strangers who help to communicate. I force myself to talk, write and read even those situations where I don?t want do! Speaking, writing, reading and understanding is hard for me but every time I speak, write, read and understand I get better!


  3. Thanks for this reply, Gordon!

    I especially liked hearing about the SLP who helped you say “I love you!” and your trick to make the f-sound (FBI).

    I also think it’s neat how speaking letters, words, and sentences helps you to read, write, and understand more.

    Thanks again for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *