Information about Dysphasia

Speech and Language Therapy (SaLT)

What you can do to help.

General advice to aid understanding

  • Avoid distractions e.g. turn off the radio
  • Speak slowly
  • Do not raise your voice unless it is required if the person has a hearing impairment
  • Provide lots of pauses
  • Do not use childish/patronising language
  • Speak using short and simple sentences
  • Emphasise or stress key words
  • When communicating something more complex, ‘chunk’ your speech into units e.g. break down the instructions or information into smaller steps or phrases
  • Do not change the subject quickly
  • To support your speech use any of the following:
    • Gesture and mime
    • Drawing
    • Variation in your voice to convey the information
    • Pointing
    • Writing
    • Lots of facial expression

Specific Advice to Aid Understanding

  • Attract the person’s attention by saying their name and touching their arm
  • Make sure that the person can see your face
  • Check that the person has all their aids in place e.g.
    • glasses
    • hearing aid
    • dentures
    • communication chart
    • Repeat things in a different way e.g. “dinner’s ready”; “food is on the table”; “grubs up”; “lunchtime”, etc.
    • Show the person what you’re talking about using the real object or a picture
    • Allow for short concentration span

General Advice to Aid Expression

  • Wait for a response – be patient
  • Encourage the person to speak instead of speaking for them – unless s/he appears too frustrated or shows a need for help
  • Don’t interrupt the person
  • Be positive and encouraging when the person does communicate
  • Watch for fatigue (deterioration in performance)
  • Avoid asking “either/or” questions – these often result in confused answers as they require more expressive skill (e.g. “Have you been waiting or have you just arrived?”)
  • If the person cannot say a target word, encourage them to describe the word or use a different word
  • Always check whether you have understood correctly – be honest if you don’t understand
  • Accept any anti-social responses e.g. swearing

Specific Advice to Aid Expression

  • Ask questions that can be answered “yes” or “no”
  • Encourage the person to use alternatives to speech when necessary
  • Mime and gesture
  • Pointing
  • Drawing
  • Writing
  • Encourage the person to say “hello” and “goodbye” or wave to indicate hello/goodbye
    • Encourage the person to use their:
    • Picture communication chart
    • Alphabet chart
    • Communication device