“We May Have a Failure to Communicate”
In a previous article we covered some of the effects of a stroke. We learned that each stroke and stroke victim are unique. One of the conditions that affect stroke victims is aphasia. But any damage to the brain can cause aphasia like a brain tumor, or traumatic brain injury. Aphasia is a communication disorder that results from damage typically to the left side of the brain that contains language. Not only may speech be affected but listening, reading and writing may also be affected. It does not mean intelligence has been lost, just the connection to it. Individuals with aphasia may also have other symptoms, such as clumsiness and swallowing problems. The following list is provided by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is not exhaustive but contains important ways to help to communicate better with a person with aphasia:
- Get the person's attention before you start speaking.
- Maintain eye contact and watch the person’s body language and use of gesture.
- Minimize or eliminate background noise (TV, radio, other people).
- Keep your voice at a normal level. Do not speak loudly unless the person asks you to do so.
- Keep communication simple, but adult. Don't "talk down" to the person with aphasia.
- Simplify your sentence structure and emphasize key words.
- Reduce your rate of speech.
- Give the individual time to speak. Resist the urge to finish sentences or offer words.
- Communicate with drawings, gestures, writing, and facial expressions in addition to speech.
- Encourage the person to use drawings, gestures, and writing.
- Use "yes" and "no" questions rather than open-ended questions.
- Praise all attempts to speak and downplay any errors. Avoid insisting that that each word be produced perfectly.
- Engage in normal activities whenever possible.
- Encourage independence and avoid being overprotective.
We can make a difference in the life of our client. Showing that we care is what we do. Being aware of the symptoms, trends, environmental and safety conditions ensures we keep our clients, employer, and the health professionals informed and appreciative for what we do. Home Helpers Home Care is part of this structure as we are on the front lines in the battle for a worthwhile life.
Please contact us at 303-412-5534 with any questions or to schedule a complimentary, in-home assessment.