Banner Health Services  



Pam Ahlman, Speech Language Pathologist, Banner Baywood Medical Center

Question: I have a friend who was diagnosed with Aphasia.  What is this and what can I do to help her?

Answer: Aphasia is a communication disorder caused by brain damage and characterized by complete or partial impairment of language comprehension, formulation and use. There are several types of aphasia, each reflecting the area(s) of the brain affected. No two people with Aphasia are the same. A complete Speech-Language Evaluation would help decide the type of Aphasia your friend has along with the most appropriate therapy.

Listed below are some helpful tips for better communication:

  • Praise any effort at speech the person makes
  • Try to understand made up words that hold meaning to the person
  • Speak slowly and clearly but not louder
  • Treat the person as an adult
  • Speak in short, simple sentences
  • Ask questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no”
  • Allow the person time to understand and to respond
  • Try not to speak for the person unless it is necessary
  • Do not speak about the person in front of others
  • See if the person is able to read or write short, single words
  • Ask the person if he/she could draw a picture of what they want
  • Watch closely for appropriate gestures that may help the person communicate
  • Use pictures or objects that may help to assist you in communicating
  • Do not ignore or isolate the person
  • Play familiar music and/or read familiar prayers to the person


Page Last Modified: 12/27/2007
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