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How to communicate with people with aphasia

Communicating with a person with aphasia – behaviors to favor in order to facilitate communication

Educational DVD for relatives of a person with aphasia

  • Educational DVD intended for the relatives of a person with aphasia. 42 minutes. In French only. Cost: 5$ plus shipping. (French only)
  • “COMMUNIQUER AVEC UNE PERSONNE APHASIQUE” was created to establish a bridge between the persons with aphasia and their relatives. Learn how to better understand and communicate with you loved one by viewing three familiar situations. These illustrate common mistakes, and show how gestures and looks can help a person with aphasia to participate and make personal decisions.

Trailer (Duration: 3 min.)

Please contact AQPA at 514 277 5678 to receive your free copy or contact us by email


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Tips for the family of people with aphasia:

In the hospital
  • Personalize the hospital room. Tape family pictures on the wall or bring in photo albums. This will give your loved one and staff/visitors something to talk about.
  • Play music with lyrics. There is some evifdence that this may help language recovery.
  • Write telephone numbers in large print and keep them by the phone.
At home
  • Check to make sure that you have understood the message that the person with aphasia is giving. Repeat what you have understood to be sure that this is what was meant.
  • Get a telephone that records the phone numbers of the people who call. Writing down phone numbers is difficult for many people with aphasia.
  • Learn all you can about aphasia and resources in your community. Some good websites include the AQPA site, and the National Aphasia Association website. 
  • Take care of yourself so that you can stay positive and present for everyone in your family, including the person with aphasia. Be forgiving and kind to yourself, we all have bad days.
  • You might want to try connecting with other families who have someone with aphasia. Aphasia groups like AQPA can help make the connection

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Tips for hospital staff dealing with patients with aphasia :

  • Focus on the positive.
  • Speak to me (the person with aphasia), as opposed to speaking around me or to my family.
  • Be open to possibilities.
  • Greet me when you enter the room, personalize your approach.
  • Be prepared to repeat information as often as needed.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to me, I need to practice and we will learn how to communicate together.
  • Be open to family involvement and questions. We have never seen this before; we are trying to learn.

Thank you for your efforts. 

They are appreciated even when we can’t tell you how much!

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For Para-transit or public transport employees:

Giving and receiving information is a major issue for a people with aphasia. Employees of para-transit and public transport can help by using the following guide when communicating with people with aphasia:

  • Speak slowly and clearly.
  • Use simple words and short sentences.
  • Address one subject at a time.
  • Face the person to whom you are speaking.
  • Uses gestures
  • Use yes/no questions.
  • Repeat the information if necessary.
  • If the individual still does not understand, rephrase your sentence with different words.
  • Write down key words if necessary
  • Use a wave or gentle tap to get the person’s attention.
  • Recap-check that you both understand.
  • If required, use written key words.
  • Keep in mind, a window separating user from driver is an obstacle to communication