A man who suffered a stroke leaving him unable to speak a single word is learning to talk again.
David Jagger, 55, of Bradford Road, Huddersfield, suffered a stroke in 2015 which left him unable to talk or move and his family were told to prepare for the worst.
The production engineer for a pharmaceutical company, he suffered with bipolar and had taken an overdose. The amount of pills he had swallowed sent his blood pressure sky-high, triggering a severe stroke.
His wife Annette was told her husband would be unlikely to recover. She said: “David was in intensive care for three weeks and we didn’t know if he was going to survive. When he eventually came round, he couldn’t talk or move.”
Although he has now made a good physical recovery, he couldn’t speak a word when he left hospital. The family chose to pay privately for a speech and language therapist to visit David for an hour each week.
Annette added: “The support from our therapist has been amazing. She has gone right back to the beginning with David and has made a big difference.
“Although he can’t say sentences, he can now speak individual words. He was losing his temper because of the frustration at not being able to speak but now he can hold a conversation more easily and he is calming down.”
Denise Thurlow, of the Stroke Association’s Communication Support Service in Kirklees, supported the couple, and also provided a Life After Stroke Grant to fund an iPad and apps to support his communication.
Annette said: “He’s smiling again how. The apps have been tailored to him and he sits tapping away as he uses the apps to improve his speech.
“It’s brilliant, and is another step on his road to recovery. David focused on saying our daughters’ and grandchildren’s names first.
“Our grandchildren help to bring out his words. He felt awkward with his speech at first, but the little ones aren’t judgemental and they talked for him. David still struggles with my name because of the syllables, but I don’t mind.”
The Stroke Association’s Lost for Words campaign aims to raise awareness of the challenges stroke survivors with communication difficulties can face, and help and support available.
Denise added: “After a stroke, around one in three people like David have difficulty communicating, which can be both terrifying and isolating. But with the right help and support, many stroke survivors are able to find new ways to communicate, and can rebuild their lives.
“When we first started supporting David, he was unable to speak at all but he has gone from strength to strength. I’m so proud of his recovery.”
More than 350,000 people in the UK have aphasia, a communication disability which can be caused by stroke.
The Stroke Association is urging people to show their support for stroke survivors who are lost for words and make a donation. For more information, visit www.stroke.org.uk/lostforwords .