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Living with Aphasia : Tips for Talking to People With Aphasia

Living with Aphasia : Tips for Talking to People With Aphasia

Can you imagine a world without speech? Can you imagine how it would be without being able to speak? Imagine a life where you cannot express your emotions which you are desperately trying to! Imagine a life where you are not being able to participate in all those intellectual discussions and debates, where you are not able to get a chance to share your opinions. Or imagine a life where you cannot read out bedtime stories to your grandchildren!

Now just imagine the scene when you are having to see your loved one suffer and struggle painfully through this situation. You probably feel nostalgic about the good old days when you used to share beautiful moments with your loved one who is now missing all those wonderful activities due to Aphasia. At the same time you are not sure what to do to help your loved one move out of this condition. This is what is like living with Aphasia.

Life isn’t very easy for you having to live like this, without getting the essence of such beautiful things on this earth, especially if you are a stroke survivor and is suffering from Aphasia. As you already might be knowing, Aphasia is a language disorder in which a person’s ability to communicate gets affected. In other words, it is the inability to comprehend or formulate language, or both, due to damage in the specific centres of the brain responsible for the production of language and speech. Aphasia symptoms ranges from difficulty finding words to being completely unable to speak, understand, read and/or write. This brain damage is generally caused as a result of stroke, but there are also many other causes that cause Aphasia, which include brain haemorrhage, head trauma or tumours. But don’t worry! Undergoing a timely treatment at a recognised centre dealing with Speech Language Pathology in Kolkata will definitely help you revive.

Although Aphasia affects different people in different ways, generally it can affect one’s ability to read, write, speak and even to use numbers. Aphasia can affect any person regardless of time and age. But when it strikes, it changes the life of the affected person completely.

  1. According to recognised centres dealing with Speech Language Pathology in Kolkata, always make sure that you have the person’s proper attention before you start. Avoid allowing any digressions on the his/her part. And NEVER EVER make the person realise that you are ignoring him/her.
  2. It is always advised to keep all sorts of distractions at bay. Keep background noises (like TV, radio, other people) at the minimum volume, and if possible eliminate them. Never make it hard for the Aphasia sufferer to have a conversation.
  3. Keep your own voice at a normal level, unless the person has indicated otherwise. Be calm and have patience.
  4. Always make sure to keep communication simple, but mature enough. Keep your sentences to single thoughts – simplifying your sentence structure might help. Also, as advised by trained professionals at clinics that deals with Speech Language Pathology in Kolkata, reduce your rate of speech. Never make it hard for the person to catch what you are trying to convey. Be on the same page. Break any instructions down into short and simple sentences, and better still, emphasize the key words. Never ever “talk down” to the Aphasia sufferer – life has already been hard to him/her.
  5. Silence is golden, and so is patience. Give the person affected with Aphasia enough time to speak. Don’t finish their sentences or offer words or hints. When the Aphasia sufferer is talking, be patient and wait for him or her to finish what he is trying to convey, even when he or she stumbles frequently and is struggling to find words. Never rush things or ask the person to hurry up. Be an attentive listener, and focus on what he or she says – not on what he or she does not say.
  6. Professionals at recognised centres rendering services in Speech Language Pathology in Kolkata, recommend that you should also use other modes of communication such as using hand gestures, pointing at things and facial expressions, or with the help of drawings or charts and writing in addition to speech. It will make way for an efficient and effective communication, because some methods may work better than others.
  7. First make sure that you are communicating successfully with simple “yes” and “no” questions. Then go for complex sentences and proceed only if you feel that the person is comfortable enough. You can also simplify the more complicated sentences by giving very few choices.
  8. Sometimes it may even be so that the person knows the answer very well, but is unable to speak it out. Ask whether the person knows the answer and is simply unable to express it in words. If so, then help him or her to speak it, and give him or her enough time to do so. But remember, never give hints. Let the person come off with the answer by himself/herself. And most importantly, as advised by renowned clinics for Speech Language Pathology in Kolkata, make sure that the person is comfortable enough in the environment he/she is sitting in. If the person is unable to tell it to you, ask someone with whom the affected person is more comfortable.
  9. Sometimes people suffering from Aphasia need to approach things in a different manner so as to achieve the same result. Find out easier ways for the same task, so as to make it simpler and even interesting for the person with Aphasia to grab things more easily. In short, always keep a plan B.
  10. Praise the person with aphasia for all of his attempts to speak and never highlight any of his errors. Speech Language Pathologists at good clinics dealing with Speech Language Pathology in Kolkata, warn against your insisting the Aphasia sufferer that each word be produced perfectly. Let them speak in a way they are comfortable in.
  11. Always engage in normal activities whenever possible. Never behave abnormally at any time, so that it is explicit enough for the person to understand that he/she is being given way more attention. Do not shield people with Aphasia from family or ignore them in a group conversation. Rather, try to involve them in all family discussions and decision-making sessions as much as possible – this will make them feel that they are being given enough attention and importance. It is always better to keep things normal for them, as if nothing happened. Never make them concerned or worried about their difficulties, nor should you make them feel that they need extra care and attention. However, though can keep them informed of events, you should also avoid burdening them with day to day details.
  12. According to experts at clinics for Speech Language Pathology in Kolkata, always encourage independence and avoid being overprotective for the affected person. Give enough space to the person and never make him/her realise that he or she should be taken extra care of. This will make him/her feel that he is helpless and needs to be dependent on another person.
  13. Sometimes more is better. While it is quite natural for the person affected with Aphasia to avoid large group conversations or a huge crowd, it is often quite comfortable for him/her to socialise and to participate in small group conversations. This increases the confidence level of the affected person, as one-on-one conversations often become quite annoying and frustrating both for the sufferer and for the other person, and it also puts much pressure on the person with Aphasia as he/she often feels that he/she is being given way more attention than is necessary. It is not so in small group conversations, which are quite natural and turns out to be quite interesting to participate in for the person.

To conclude, you should handle a sufferer of Aphasia, especially if he/she is a stroke survivor, with extreme care. And most importantly, never delay in getting a proper and regular treatment from a recognised clinic dealing with Speech Language Pathology in Kolkata, where you will get professional care and support.