Communication Matters

Stroke Recovery: Communication Tips for People with Aphasia

Alicia Verhovitz, M.A., CCC-SLP | Posted on June 1, 2022

Talking to momTake your time when speaking. Speak at your own pace. Even if your communication partner is speaking quickly, set your pace and take your time. Your message is important and deserves to be heard.

Ask or gesture for someone speaking too fast for your comfort to slow down. Aphasia can affect both language use and comprehension. If someone is speaking too quickly for you to understand their message fully, gesturing or asking them to slow down, may lead to increased comprehension for you.

Try the strategy of "talking around a word." This is also called circumlocution. You could provide the category, function, appearance, location, or anything else you may know about your desired message. For example, if you are thinking of the word "coffee," you could say, “drink, morning, brown, mug, cream, sugar…” to provide clues to both your communication partner and yourself. The use of this strategy may lead to the realization of your desired word or increased comprehension from your communication partner.

Begin with familiar people and places. As you continue to recover, speak with people you are comfortable around, in environments where you are comfortable. This will decrease any external distractions and allow you to focus on your message and have successful communicative experiences. As you become more confident, begin to speak with additional conversation partners. 

Try using an advocacy statement. When talking to a new person, start with your advocacy statement. For example, "I'm a stroke survivor, please be patient with me as we communicate.” Or you can try, “I’m a brain injury survivor, can you understand me?" You can provide your advocacy statement verbally or through a written card you carry with you.

For information on the CHSC Northeast Adults Communicating Together (NEO-ACT) stroke support group click here.

Tags: Speech, Language, Communication, Support, Stroke, Caregiving, Brain Injury, talking, Communication Access, Speech therapy, Stroke recovery



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