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expressive dysphasia (aphasia)
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expressive dysphasia (aphasia)

Hi all,

Does anyone here have speech difficulties from MS?  I appear to have expressive dysphasia.  More specifically I have "scanned speech" (i.e., abnormally long pauses between words) and difficulty with word-finding.  

Is there any therapy I can do for this?  Does anyone have any tips for dealing with these problems?  

Part of my job involves giving presentations, and this is creating a significant problem at work.  My boss simply thinks I have poor presentation skills -- and does not realize this is part of my MS.  I am reluctant to tell her that it is an MS problem because I fear that I might lose my job.  But if she continues to mark my annual reviews with "poor presentation skills", I'm not going to get anywhere in that job with regard to a raise or promotions.

I'm looking for any advice from someone that might have scanned speech or word-finding problems.

Thanks,
Jean
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1936411_tn?1333835449
I'm in training to be a Speech-Language Pathologist. We learn that MS can cause aphasia. If you are concerned, you should ask your doc or MS Specialist to refer you to a Speech-Language Pathologist, who can test you to see if you really do have problems, and can also treat you if you do. (yes, there is therapy- and it can be very effective)

I just got diagnosed with MS last month. I'm pretty sure I've been having some short-term memory and word finding problems for a while. You are not alone. I'm sure there are others, too.

Best wishes,
Jane
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620048_tn?1358021835
Hi Jean,

Yes, I do have the same problems.  I have not looked into it yet. I just went to a Memory & Aging Clinic but it was not about speech.  But it is somewhat about memory maybe.

There are a lot of others here with the same issues, i am sure you will be hearing from them too.  I am so tired of Drs and clinics.....and I am older, it may not even help me.

You will get some help I am sure...

meg
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987762_tn?1331031553
Its not an uncommon problem with MSers, slurring, stuttering, long pauses, missing words, wrong words, lost thoughts mid sentence etc have all been discussed here before so there might be something in the archives worth reading too.

I'd always been verbally gifted, could talk a hind leg off a dog lol yeah I'd always had a knack with words but one day I was talking to my husband and I realised i didn't know what his name was, oh I knew him etc but I just couldn't find his name. I tried to hide this oddity but my husband soon clued in that something was wrong after i asked him what our blond childs name was. I suppose it only took a short while to work out i'd lost nouns, all nouns had been wiped out of my head, how bizzar.

I was also stuttering and slurring for the first time in my life so it didn't take much to work out my brain was on the fritz. Long pauses and lost words on top of that sort of summed it up to be a whole lot of this is soooooo not good. Dont laugh at me but i started experimenting, trying to find something, anything that worked for me. I found i could think what i wanted to say perfectly fine but when i tried to say it, it some how got lost between the swiss cheese brain and my tongue.

If I tried to push through, the glitch just got worse and i'd be stuttering or slurring the word out which didn't help. I've learnt to stop speaking as soon as i recognise i've become stuck, I take a breath and start speaking again like nothing happened, most people dont really notice it now, family of course know but i can live with that. I also do the same when i loose words, it doesn't always work but it often gives my brain the time it needs to reboot.

One tip is to make sure your not tired before or during speeches or meetings, if my energy level is low or i'm hot then my speach is one of the first things to play up. It will also go if i've eaten a chewy meal or already been talking a lot, so it might be a good idea to be well rested etc before hand.

If you google stuttering societies or association they usually have a lot of really helpful tips, they wont totally apply to you but i'm sure you'll find something that will works for you!  

Hope it helps...........JJ    
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1307298_tn?1305950451
I'm glad to know that I'm not alone -- although I wish none of us had this problem!

I find that when I'm stressed this is a real problem.  A couple of weeks ago, I was really stressed before a presentation, and it was so horrible that my boss told me my performance would significantly delay any promotion.

I also find that I get anxious when my boss is in the room simply to listen to a presentation because I know she is evaluating my performance.  So of course, I totally tank the presentation when she is there.

JJ -- I think I will also take note if my problem gets worse with fatigue or heat.  Heat really affects me -- so I wouldn't be surprised.  Thank God work has air conditioning.

I think I have no choice but to tell my boss of this problem so that an accommodation can be made of some kind.  She already knows I have MS and the company has made accommodations for me in the past--like putting a cot in an empty office so that I can take a nap if I am too fatigued.  I can only hope for the best.

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1548028_tn?1324616046
Jordan went to a speech pathologist and was evaluated and had rehab.  It did help.  This is what we, as his parents, see in him the most.  Once very articulate and had a broad vocabulary to describing things when he is unable to find the word.  No big deal-just takes a little longer for him to say what's on his mind!LOL  I know this seems silly but a mother of an MS child played scrabble with him on his NOOK and now this is a family favorite.  He says it really helps him to re-recognize words.  I am sorry this is happening to you.  My parents go to a hair stylist and dr. with MS.  Their appointments take a little longer but they go to them because they think they are courageous and an inspiration.  I hope others view you like this-I do!  Goodluck!
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198419_tn?1360245956
Excellent info here from Jane. I just wanted to add that perhaps in addition to therapy, you can introduce some/more visual and audio aids to your presentations.  Find your pace inbetween them, make the pausing a part of your style. Place key words that are usually lost on the big screen.

Oftentimes it's not how you say something, but the content of what you say. (stuttering and slurring excluded)

Not knowing what type of info you present, I'm limited in my suggestions, but would love to help. This is definitely a daunting challenge, and I can relate :(  However, if pre-MS you were on your game, you may find just the right modification to pull it off again.
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1307298_tn?1305950451
Thanks for all the insight, folks.  It really helps!

I called my neurologist's nurse yesterday and she said she would talk to the doctor about any speech therapy that might be good for me.  I told her that I was debating whether or not to tell my boss, and right away she told me that I should consult with an attorney first.  There is an attorney that volunteers with the local MS Society chapter, so she gave me the number.  

I'll keep everyone updated on this in case anyone finds it helpful information for the future.

Jean
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello  this happens to me also it is what caused my neurologist to do MRI of my brain. I had been doing this for years since I was around 20? My lesion may have been "inactive" for the most part now have other symptoms Thank you for sharing I was just diagnosed  Now I do not feel so alone
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