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Supported Communication for Adults with Aphasia

I think this method of treatment is worth talking about. This method focuses on using different forms of active listening and communication to facilitate communication from the person with aphasia. The communicative partner that is conversing with the person with aphasia (PWA) can:


  • Using both spoken and written KEY words (write key words during a conversation)

  • Use gestures and non-verbal language to support your spoken words (facial expression, pointing, nodding)

  • Drawings

  • Use tools such as maps and pictures to support your message when communicating=


The goal is to also have the person with aphasia use the same ways of communicating (gestures, non-verbal, drawing, maps/pictures, key written words or letters) to get his/her message across.


The communication partner can summarize or repeat their own message in simple terms with key words (both written and spoken). For example, if you're having a conversation discussing your upcoming family gathering you can write key words (family, party, Saturday, burgers). You can have resources such as a calendar to provide context for the date and time of the party or to plan together.


The communication partner should verify understanding of a message spoken by the PWA by rephrasing what the person with aphasia has communicated ("So let me make sure I understand correctly: You want to go out to dinner later?").


When asking open ended questions, have resources to help the PWA retrieve words (i.e. use a map to narrow down places/cities). For example, if you are asking which restaurant the PWA wants to go to have a list or map of your frequented restaurants for him/her to point to or read.


Patience and acknowledging the intelligence and competence of the person with aphasia is key. You can say phrases such as "I know you know the word, take your time".


Help the person with supports and only help them with difficulty word finding when they want.




Set up a free consultation with us to learn how to implement effective conversations at home when living with aphasia.


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