Communication Disorders Clinic

Aphasia House Director Shares Tips for Supporting Those with Aphasia

Written By: Drexler B. James '13 | June 4, 2021

Amy Engelhoven

June is Aphasia Awareness Month.

Aphasia is a language disorder caused by damage to the language centers in the brain, usually in the left hemisphere. It can affect all aspects of language including auditory comprehension, verbal expression, reading and writing, says Amy Engelhoven, director the Aphasia House.

“The important thing to know about aphasia is that it is a loss of communication, not a loss of intellect,” she says.

Engelhoven shares 10 tips to best support those with aphasia:

  1. Speak slowly
  2. Use simple language
  3. Use an adult tone
  4. Give plenty of time for the person to respond
  5. Don’t speak for the person with aphasia
  6. Ask yes/no questions rather than open-ended questions
  7. Use gestures, drawing and writing to help communicate
  8. Involve the person with aphasia in conversations and decision-making
  9. Acknowledge any frustration from the person with aphasia
  10. Talk TO the person with aphasia, not about them
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