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10 Suggestions of how to Communicate to someone with Aphasia

When someone you know has suffered a stroke and has aphasia (a communication deficit), you may not know how to communicate to them.

Although strokes affect different parts of the brain and can cause different types of aphasia, here are some basic tips on how to talk to that person.

After you get their attention:

  • Minimize or eliminate distractions in the environment when you are trying to talk to them.
  • Simplify how you are saying things without talking down to the person.
  • Slow down your rate of speech.
  • Sometimes asking questions that can be answered by yes and no can be helpful but at other times, the person with aphasia may say yes but really mean no or vice versa.
  • Use various modes of communication (writing, drawing, gestures, etc.) when speaking to them.
  • Encourage them to also use various modes to communicate such as gestures, writing, drawing, or to describe the word they are trying to say. 
  • Give them time to respond before you repeat information. 
  • Avoid speaking for the person and ask permission before you do so.  
  • Praise attempts to speak and don't be critical of their errors.
  • Use your imagination to try to figure out what they are trying to say. 

For more tips go to the National Aphasia Association.

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