Some tips for communicating with a person with aphasia

“People with aphasia communicate better than they talk”                           – Audrey Holland

  • Make sure you have the individual’s attention before speaking with them.
  • Keep communication simple.
  • Reduce your rate of speech.
  • Speak at a natural volume, but emphasize KEY words or ideas.
  • Break down instructions or directions.
  • If spoken language fails, try other modes of communication such as gestures, writing, drawing, providing choices, and/or yes/no responses.
  • Repeat or rephrase a statement when necessary.
  • Encourage independence, for example, avoid speaking for the person or finishing their sentences unless you have permission to do so.
  • Encourage participation in social events.
  • Give the person enough time to understand and respond.
  • Involve the individual in decision-making.
  • Encourage participation in stroke support groups, which may increase social communication abilities and reduce feelings of isolation.
  • Many people have never experienced aphasia within their family and circle of friends and may perceive individuals with aphasia as being less intelligent, confused or deaf. THIS IS NOT SO! It is important to have patience and compassion when interacting with persons with aphasia.
  • Be willing to accept ANY form of communication as equally valid: gestures, writing, drawing, using a communication notebook, intonation or speech.
  • Keep similar topics together
  • Ask one question at a time
  • Confirm comprehension before proceeding
  • Encourage use of assistive devices