Communication Tips

Suggestions for Communicating with a Person who has Aphasia

(Adapted from the National Aphasia Center)

  • Talk to the person with aphasia as an adult and not as a child. Avoid talking down to the person.
  • During conversation, minimize or eliminate background noise (i.e., television, radio, other people) whenever possible.
  • Make sure you have the person’s attention before communicating.
  • Encourage and use all modes of communication (speech, writing, drawing, yes/no responses, written choices, gestures, eye contact, facial expressions).
  • Give the person with aphasia time to talk and time to respond.
  • Accept all communication attempts (speech, gesture, writing, drawing) rather than demanding speech. Downplay errors and avoid frequent corrections. Avoid insisting that each word be produced perfectly.
  • Keep your communication simple and speak like an adult. Simplify sentence structure and reduce your own rate of speech by inserting pauses between words and phrases. Keep your voice at a normal volume level.
  • Use gestures and visual aids whenever possible. Repeat a statement when necessary.
  • Encourage people with aphasia to be as independent as possible. Avoid being overprotective or speaking for the person except when asked to do so.
  • Whenever possible, continue normal home activities (e.g., dinner with family, company, going out). Do not shield people with aphasia from family or friends or ignore them in a group conversation. Try to involve people with aphasia in family decision-making as much as possible.

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