Some people have speech and language problems after a stroke. These problems may involve any or all aspects of language use, such as speaking, reading, writing, and understanding the spoken word. Speech and language problems (aphasia) usually occur when a stroke affects the right side of the body. Trouble communicating can be very frustrating. When you talk to someone who has had a stroke, be patient, understanding, and supportive.
The following are tips for helping someone who has speech and language problems:
- Speak directly to him or her-not to a companion, even if that person is an interpreter-and speak in second, not third, person: "How are you feeling today?"
- Maintain eye contact.
- Speak slowly and simply in a normal tone of voice. People who have speech and language problems are not deaf.
- Give him or her adequate time to respond.
- Listen carefully.
- Focus on what the person is saying, not how he or she is saying it.
- Don't fill in with a word or sentence unless you are asked.
- Ask the person to rephrase or repeat something if you do not understand.
- Put the person-not the impairment-first.
- Limit conversations to small groups or one on one. Large group conversations may be difficult for your loved one to follow.