In the past few weeks, I was liturgist at GCPC and I preached at Circle of Mercy. These experiences got me thinking about my speech and how it was right after my injury. In many respects, I am very fortunate since the part of my brain that handles speech was not affected but I know survivors who have great difficulty speaking.

I remember attending a support group in Atlanta. One meeting was rather intense because we were talking about the future of the Brain Injury Association of Georgia and emotions ran very high. At one point, a voice yelled,”Stop fighting!” It came from a man who used a wheelchair and always spoke with great difficulty. He continued haltingly and it took him a long time to get the words out. “We’re all on the same side!” No one said a word for we all knew he was right.

Although my speech isn’t a problem now, I did have to train my brain to speak again. I don’t remember much about the very beginning but I’m told at first I didn’t make much sense. I think this was more cognitive than the actual mechanics of speech as I tried to find a way to express what was inside. As I got better I began practicing saying lists of words trying to get my speech clear again. I knew my voice was important as I assumed I would go back to being a minister again. At first I was paranoid about speaking from the pulpit. Of course I didn’t have many opportunities but when I did, I recorded my speech just to make sure it was clear.

I’m happy to say my speech is as it was prior to my brain injury. I do have difficulty “thinking on my feet” so sometimes my responses are slow. How is your speech now? Is it difficult for you to get words out? What sort of exercises did you have to do to improve it? Directions for commenting are above on the right or contact me directly at tamara@indylink.org

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