It’s frustrating when you have trouble communicating after a stroke. But not knowing how long this will last and what you can do about it is even harder. That’s why it’s important for you and your family to ask questions at visits with your speech-language pathologist (SLP), commonly referred to as a speech therapist. “Therapy should be a collaboration among you, your family, and the SLP,” says Nina Simmons-Mackie, Ph.D., professor of communication sciences and disorders at Southeastern Louisiana University. “It’s important to understand what you’re working on and why.” If something isn’t clear, asking for clarification can help you better meet your goals. Know Your Situation A stroke can affect speech and language in myriad ways, depending on which part of the brain is involved. “Different communication problems require different approaches to treatment,” says Dr. Simmons-Mackie. For example, if you have trouble thinking of words, you might work on naming pictures. If you struggle to follow the rules of conversation, you might practice your chatting skills. Or if your speech muscles are weak, you might do exercises to strengthen them. Expectations for recovery also vary based on the type of communication problem you have. So it’s especially critical to get individualized answers to your questions after a stroke. And the person best able to provide them is your SLP. Ask Your Questions Before your next SLP visit, jot down a list of questions and concerns, or have a family member do it for you. Add any new questions as they arise. Then bring the list to your appointment, and you’ll be prepared to get all the information you need. Here are 10 key questions to ask your SLP: What is my main communication problem? Have you helped other stroke patients with this problem? What are the goals of my speech-language therapy? What will I need to do to reach those goals? Why is it important for me to take these steps? How can my family members help at home? How much improvement can I expect? Are my speech problems permanent? Am I a candidate for a speech generating device? Where can I find a support group for myself and my family? Keep Seeking Answers Once therapy is under way, more questions may come up. “If you aren’t satisfied with how things are going, ask if there are alternate approaches you can try,” Dr. Simmons-Mackie says. Even if there aren’t, you should at least get a clear explanation of why the current approach is the best one for you.