Key goals for people with aphasia often include restoring former language ability and maximising participation in society. The life changing effects of aphasia are not restricted just to the individual but can also impact those in their social spheres such as family members, friends and colleagues.
Family and friends are integral in supporting and optimising engagement in life activities following a stroke. In addition to direct individual therapy, Speech Pathologists are ideally positioned to educate relatives about how to best support the communication needs of their family member following a stroke.
It should be noted that communication difficulties are greatly varied and specialist advice from a Speech Pathologist is strongly recommended.
About communication strategies after a stroke
How can family members and friends support a loved one with aphasia?
Below are some general strategies that may assist communication partners in promoting and reinforcing effective communicative interactions:
- Use short and concise sentences if the person is having difficulty comprehending
- Use gestures and facial expression to support what you are saying (i.e. pointing or demonstrating an action)
- Double check to make sure they have understood (e.g. rephrase/repeat the question)
- Allow them extra time to respond if needed and avoid dominating the conversation
- Encourage and promote independent communication – even when it seems hard and takes time.
Aphasia support groups (e.g. Australian Aphasia Association) are available to people with aphasia and their families. The support groups promote participation within the community and are a great way to meet others who have walked in their shoes.
If you have questions about communication strategies post stroke and speech pathology contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see a speech pathologist. We‘ll provide you with a straightforward, efficient and very effective treatment plan targeted to your concerns.