Our last Aphasia Cafe chat covered resolutions for 2021, and it was no surprise that many of those goals focused on improving communication or treating aphasia. Speech-language pathologist and NAA Board President, Darlene Williamson, was on the chat, and she shared great tips for setting goals.
Many Brief Sessions
Resolution: I want to practice with my app, Tactus Conversations, at least three times a week. —Donna B
Williamson explained why many smaller practice sessions—even just ten minutes at a time—are better than doing one hour-long session with a speech therapy app once a week. Brains get saturated, and they require rest for optimal performance. It’s better to take ten minutes to practice speech, step away to do something else, and then come back an hour later for another ten minutes. This is especially true if you find yourself feeling worn out as you work on speech exercises. Take a break—you can always come back to the activity after you rest.
Looking for an app for practicing speech? Check out Tavistock’s app finder tool. While Tavistock is in the UK, many of the apps on the list are from or available in the United States.
Use It and Improve It
Resolution: My whole thing is to practice with more people. —Ron F
Williamson encouraged regular speech practice, pointing out that when it comes to aphasia and communication, it’s not “use it and lose it.” It’s “use it and improve it.” The NAA offers a monthly online chat that anyone can join. We also update our list of online events at the beginning of every month. The activities range from on-going, online chats offered by clinics to a spoken poetry group. There are also individuals starting informal chat sessions with other members of the community. You can list your own event or join one of the listed ones. Bookmark that post because it is updated each month.
Read a Book
Resolution: Read more books! —Kevin K
Whether you’re reading a paper book, an e-book, or listening to an audiobook, losing yourself in a story is a great way to practice speech.
Did you know you can turn any e-book into an audio book? It’s great to use text-to-speech software to listen to the book as you read.
Resolution: I’m new to this, having just had a stroke. I want to get comfortable with my new reality. —Monica C
Monica was in the process of returning to work, and many chimed in to remind her that she can ask for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This kicked off a general discussion about aphasia and the workplace. Williamson stressed that it’s important for individuals to never pretend that they don’t have aphasia. Others need the person with aphasia to take the lead so they understand that aphasia isn’t a taboo topic. People with aphasia need to be able to talk about their experiences and tell people around them communication tips to make life easier.
Resolution: I will exercise more. —Barbara
Exercise isn’t just for stress relief or heart health. Walking and moving may help speech flow.
Looking for a reason to get moving? Join a virtual race or find videos on YouTube.
What are your goals this year?