Aphasia……….

Here is a note that my wife recently wrote for the American Heart Association about aphasia:

Patience, humor, and lots of pointing!! We are 11 years post-stroke and my husband’s language ability has changed dramatically.  He started with only Yes and No and he said those words indiscriminately.  In those early years, we needed patience and strategy.  We started with big picture: person place or thing. We worked our way down to what he wanted to say. It was important to let him try rather than start guessing and talking for him and over him. We made games the whole family could play to help him learn words again. No matter how he was doing, we encouraged him and assured him it would get better.  Yes it was hard and frustrating but we kept at it. After about 4 years, he could put 3 words together.  They may or may not have been the right 3 words or in the right order but…3 words!!

Then he started reading out loud. After about a year of reading out loud (usually reading the exact same text so he could measure his improvement) he started saying sentences. Around the 5-year mark, he was able to say 2-3 short sentences in a row. It was an incredible breakthrough.

He still struggles with speaking. Around the house he is pretty good. It is quiet and no stress so he is relaxed and mostly able to express himself. Outside of the house, we try to keep it simple.  No open ended questions. It is a new normal but it works for us.

Don’t give up!  Giving up is the only guarantee that there will be no progress.

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