Lingraphica Kicks Off Better Hearing and Speech Month

May 01, 2014 | by Kevin Self

It’s finally here! May is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM). All 31 days in May are dedicated to raising awareness of communication disorders.

From autism to aphasia, speech-language pathologists and audiologists will be sharing information and promoting treatment that can improve the quality of life for those who experience difficulty with speaking, understanding, or hearing.

Lingraphica is doing its part by highlight communication tips from the members of the Lingraphica Aphasia Users Group. During one of our monthly meetings, the group shared seven tips for communicating with adults with aphasia. Check out the tips below and be sure to share yours with us on social media using #BHSM!

  1. Speak directly to me, not my caregiver: Many caregivers noticed that friends and family like to direct their communication away from their loved one with aphasia. Caregivers suggested speaking straight to their loved one with aphasia.
  2. Be patient, and be aware that I may use a speech-generating device: All of the members of Lingraphica Aphasia User Group use a form of augmentative and alternative communication. Some carry their speech-generating device everywhere they go. Others find the SmallTalk apps a helpful alternative to their device when they are out and about.
  3. Speak to me the same way you speak to others: Although the members have aphasia, their intellect is still intact and they can understand what others are trying to say to them.
  4. My speech does not mean I am drunk: One of the Lingraphica Aphasia User Group members was stopped by a law enforcement official who thought she was drunk due to her slurred speech. She tried to explain to him she has aphasia, which causes her to speak slower. She wants to raise awareness of the condition and its influence on her speech.
  5. When you are helping me find the words, ask descriptive questions: Many of the Lingraphica Aphasia User Group members reported getting words mixed up. One member suggested asking questions about the location of an object or subject to help him find the right term. For example, if you want to know what he means by, “ the thing in the kitchen,” ask, “does the object help prepare food?”
  6. Remove excess background noise. It’s easier to hear when it’s quiet: Background noise makes it difficult for anyone to focus, but especially for adults with aphasia. Try to move to a quiet space to communicate.
  7. Get permission before helping me speak: Many people try to offer clues or guess what the adult with aphasia is trying to say. However, this method can confuse or shift the thinking of the aphasic. The Lingraphica Aphasia User Group likes to be asked if you can help them find the right word before jumping in with suggestions.

These seven tips are just the start of raising awareness of aphasia. To find more tips and share yours, visit our social media pages during the month of May. Don’t forget to post your tip by using #BHSM or @Lingraphica in your tweet or post.