Tips for Communicating with Persons with Aphasia

For those new to interacting with people with aphasia, it can be extremely difficult to understand speech. The following are tips to remember that will make communication easier:

  1. Talk to the person as an adult, not as a child.
  2. Try to minimize or eliminate background noise.
  3. Make sure you have the person’s attention before communicating.
  4. Encourage and use all modes of communication: speech, writing, and drawing.
  5. Try to ask questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no.”
  6. Give the people with aphasia ample time to express themselves verbally, and be sure to give them the time they need to respond to communication you initiate.
  7. Accept all communication attempts.
  8. Keep your own communication simple but adult.
  9. Simplify sentence structure and reduce your rate of speech.
  10. Keep your voice at a normal level and emphasize key words.
  11. Augment speech with gestures and visual aids when possible.
  12. Repeat statements when necessary.
  13. Resist the urge to finish their statements.
  14. Show patience.

Adapted from the National Aphasia Association