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Aphasia—Improving Communication

Aphasia occurs when a part of the brain that processes language is damaged. A speech therapist (an expert trained in speech rehabilitation) will work closely with the patient and family to help the patient communicate.

Speech therapist

Speech Therapy

During rehabilitation (rehab), the therapist may do the following to find and increase a patient’s strengths:

  • Use flash cards to help improve word skills.

  • Ask the patient to name objects or find opposites.

  • Help patients find ways to work around lost language skills. For example, the patient may need to use a thumbs-up or eye blinks in place of “yes” or “no.”

Patient and spouse

You Can Help

If your loved one has aphasia, the tips below may make communicating easier.

  • Praise any efforts the person makes to speak.

  • Speak slowly and clearly. Use common words, but don’t “talk down.”

  • Speak in simple sentences. Stick to one idea and one action.

  • Give the person time to understand and to respond.

  • Do not ignore the person. Keep them informed and involved.

  • Do not pretend to understand if you don’t.


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