Open Accessibility Menu

Top Tips for Supporting Someone With Aphasia

Top Tips for Supporting Someone With Aphasia

Its all too easy for a person with Aphasia to become frustrated, isolated and depressed. As their ability to communicate is affected, they may feel cut off from their loved ones and the world around them. These tips can help you to support someone with Aphasia.

Aphasia is defined as an acquired neurogenic language disorder (usually left hemisphere of the brain) which can affect speech, comprehension, writing, reading, and general communication. Aphasia is the most common type of speech language disorder in stroke patients.

There are steps that family members and friends can take to support someone with aphasia. You can help someone with aphasia communicate by:

  • Keeping your language clear and simple. Speak slowly
  • Giving the person time to speak and formulate thoughts – give the person time to take in what you say and to respond
  • Using short phrases and sentences to communicate
  • Reduce background noise/distractions
  • Using all forms of communication to reinforce what you are saying – use clear gestures, drawing and communication aids if needed

You can also help someone with aphasia to express themselves by:

  • Not interrupting and ask if your help is needed before giving it
  • Using alternative communication systems if appropriate (ex. Keyboard, written expression, communication applications on devices, etc.)
  • Asking careful questions that only require a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer instead of open ended questions. Give them plenty of time to respond. Don’t ask too many questions too quickly, as they may feel overwhelmed and become frustrated.
  • Look as well as listen – you will get information from natural gestures, facial expressions and body language.
  • Communicate to understand. If you’re having difficulty understanding their communication, be honest and tell them: “I’m sorry, I don’t understand – let’s try again.”

The goal of the speech language pathologist is to achieve the best level of communication for a person with aphasia to participate in all activities of daily living. Learn more about speech therapy, learn more about stroke rehab or call 570-348-1360.

About the Author: Danielle Burrier, MS, CCC/SLP is a speech language pathologist at Allied Services Luger Scranton Rehab Center. Danielle has more than 24 years of experience in speech language therapy, serving both pediatric and adult patients. She specializes in the treatment of adult neurological disorders (CVA, TBI), pediatrics, and dysphagia/swallowing disorders.