Netflix Documentary Spotlights Stroke, Speech Therapy

Imagine being in your 30’s and having a stroke. Imagine knowing what you want to say, but the words “get stuck” when talking to your friends and family. Imagine having difficulty reading your favorite book, work emails, or even this blog. That’s what happened to 34-year-old Lotje Sodderland, co-director and star of My Beautiful Broken Brain, a documentary released on Netflix this spring. In the movie, Lotje describes having a stroke from the artistic perspective of a young film writer/producer and her rehabilitation experience with the help of a speech-language pathologist (SLP.) If you’re looking for something to watch on Netflix this weekend, I definitely recommend it. Here’s the trailer:

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month and also Stroke Awareness Month. This offers an opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders and the role of speech-language pathologists.

What is a speech-language pathologist? SLPs work to prevent, assess, and treat speech, language, social, cognitive, and swallowing disorders in children and adults.

Where do SLPs work? SLPs work in many different settings including schools, hospitals, and research centers, with all ages and populations. We often work collaboratively with an interdisciplinary team which may include teachers, physicians, audiologists, psychologists, social workers, and physical and occupational therapists.

What is the SLP’s role with someone who experiences a stroke? After having a stroke, one might have aphasia, an acquired language disorder involving expression, comprehension, reading, and writing skills. SLPs help to improve a person’s speech production and their ability to understand or produce language, enhance cognitive/thinking skills, and ensure safety of chewing and swallowing. An SLP may also work with a vocational specialist to help transition a person back into work or school, if appropriate.

To join Magee’s Aphasia Community Support Group, contact group facilitator Sarah Lantz, Speech-Language Pathologist at slantz@mageerehab.org or 215-587-3142. For additional support, visit aphasia.org.

Photo courtesy of Netflix

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