It’s difficult to learn a foreign language in a classroom. The introductory phrases covered in textbooks are rarely the ones you need when you go to another country or jump into a conversation. It’s also a little… dull. It’s hard to feel motivated when you’re talking through vocabulary lists. Making speech therapy interesting pops up in Ellayne Ganzfried and Mona Greenfield’s new book, The Word Escapes Me.
Choose a Topic
Lee, a stroke survivor, “lights up when talking about cutting edge restaurants and cooking gourmet dishes” (p. 81). Other people like to discuss books or movies or current events. The point is that speech therapy is more enjoyable when you’re covering topics that interest you.
Which means that it’s time to think about what interests you? Take some time to work on a list of your favourite things. Where do you like to go? What do you like to do? Your favourite movies or books or places?
Speech Therapy Homework
Give your therapist a little homework. Hand your therapist a list of topics that fascinate you and challenge them to build appointments around topics that will keep you engaged. Not only will the conversation topics become more interesting but doing so allows your therapist to truly know you.
And give yourself a little homework, too! Engage, if you can, in your favourite activities so you have new things to talk about. Take a cooking class, visit an art museum, read or listen to a book, watch a sporting event; do whatever you like to do, and then tell your speech therapist about it at your next session.
Become an Activist
The book contains a story about Avi Golden, an aphasia activist. His therapist writes,
It has been remarkable for me to see the progress Avi has made with his own communication skills as he educates others about aphasia. It has forced him to focus on his reading, writing, and oral presentation in the context of something meaningful to him—raising awareness of aphasia in the community and training health care professionals and emergency responders (p. 94).
By choosing a meaningful topic — aphasia — Avi not only does great work educating others, but he practics his own communication skills at the same time. If you’re having trouble thinking up a topic of interest, consider making educating others about aphasia your passion project, too.
What are your favourite things to talk about?
Join this online book club! Copies of The Word Escapes Me can be purchased through all online book retailers including Amazon. You can also purchase the book directly from Balboa Press, and discounts are offered on bulk orders.