Most working days (Monday to Friday) we write a Therapy Tip of the Day. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter so you don’t miss a post. We have collated some our therapy tips for therapists and family members of individuals with aphasia and added some more detail below.
Ideas for Supported Conversation
Tip 1: Don't Forget the Dry-Erase Board & Marker
Encourage clients with aphasia and apraxia (especially those w/ moderate or severe expressive language difficulties and more preserved writing skills) to take a dry-erase board with them and to use it to support themselves in conversation. If they cannot find a word they may be able to write the first letter, part of all of the word. Another option would be to draw. The conversation partner (family member or therapist) could also use the board to support the person’s communication e.g. written choice communication.
A better alternative to a dry-erase board albeit a more expensive one is a Boogie Board. This smart electronic notepad allows you to draw, scribble, doodle, and erase easily at the touch of a button.
Tip 2: Keep a Photo Diary
Most people want to be able to communicate more than their basic needs and wants. Taking and sharing photos is a wonderful way for ppl with communication difficulties to share personal experiences & recent events. A person with significant expressive language difficulties may not be able to verbally tell you where they had been at the weekend but if they could show you photos they had taken, you would instantly know.
Ideas for Expressive Language/Narrative Therapy
Tip 1: Use Pixar Short Videos
Pixar’s short, silent, animated videos are a fantastic resource for narrative therapy/story recall. They are suitable for adults with aphasia, children with developmental language disorders and autism. One advantage of using these videos is that they are silent. This means that auditory comprehension and memory are not being challenged so the person can focus entirely on talking and finding words.
You could also use this activity to practise talking around words when having word-finding problems. Remind the patient to use a prompt sheet to help them to describe words should they get stuck.
Tip 2: Tell Me Your Stroke Story
Ask stroke patients with aphasia to tell you their stroke story. This can help to build rapport, and allow you to informally assess their language and ability to converse (word-finding, structure etc). Some individuals may also wish to work on and improve their stroke story as part of their therapy. This task would be best suited to individuals with mild to moderate aphasia.
Tip 3: Dig Out The Old Photo Albums
Ask patients with aphasia and dementia to bring in their old photo albums. It’s a wonderful way of elicting language and building rapport. Afterall we all love to reminisce and to share our experiences. Talking about old photos is also a great way of practicing names of family members and places. Some individual may need more support to talk about the photos and times past. Try to remember to use supported conversation strategies to help them to communicate as best they can.
We hope that you have found this blog post helpful. Please share it with friends and colleagues who may also find it of benefit.