Tag Archives: Hard work
Aphasia is the result of a stroke or brain injury. The Brain Injury of Massachusetts offers some wonderful ideas and coping skills.
Aphasia is a complex condition. It affects each person differently and may be hardly noticeable or very severe. A person with Aphasia may find that their communication difficulties can change from day-to-day or even hour to hour. They are likely to be worse when tired, unwell or under pressure.
People with Aphasia have described the experience as being:
“locked inside my own head”
“everything been washed from my brain”
Having Aphasia is often isolating and extremely frustrating. It usually results in loss of work for people under retirement age, with loss of status, social contact and financial security. Roles within the family may change, and friendships and close relationships come under great strain.
Will it improve? Each individual will have a different set of problems and will achieve a different level of recovery. It is impossible to predict how much language the person will regain.
Having the confidence to use whatever language skills remain seems to be even more important than being able to find all the right words. With practice and support, even people with severe Aphasia can continue to express their needs, choices and unique personality.
When you are talking with a person with Aphasia:
- Choose a quiet place with few distractions if possible e.g. (background noise and more than one person speaking at once can make it very hard to follow a conversation).
- Gain and maintain eye contact before starting to speak. This will ensure that facial expressions and gestures will give a lot of clues about the message you are trying to get across, even if he/she finds the words hard to follow.
- Allow plenty of time for him/her to absorb what you have said and to make his/her response.
- Talk with a normal voice but at a slightly slower speed than usual.
- Give only one piece of information at a time.
- Use short sentences.
- Check you have both understood. Don’t pretend you have understood when you haven’t!
- Use familiar words and phrases.
- Make it clear if you are changing the subject.
- Have a pen and paper handy, as some people can read or write better than they can speak. Sometimes drawing the message or using other ‘props’ (pictures, photographs and real objects) can help.
- It is easier to answer questions with a “Yes” or “No” answer (closed questions) than questions that need a fuller answer (open questions). For example, “Do you want a cup of tea?” rather than, “What would you like to drink?”
- It is quite common for people with Aphasia to mix related words when they speak (such as ‘yes’ and ‘no’ or ‘he’ and ‘she’). Sometimes it can help to use gestures (thumbs up or down) or point to a symbol (tick, cross, smiley face, unhappy face) to check the meaning.
- Avoid shouting, interrupting, patronising or ignoring the person with Aphasia. Many people with Aphasia have had the experience of being treated as “stupid”, “drunk” or “mad”, which makes living with a language impairment even harder to deal with.
Good new is that there are new websites that offer tools to cope with aphasia. Hope, Humor and Hard work will improve our disorder.
He stood 6 feet 6 inches tall but was a gentle man. He came from Ireland in the 1940’s yet he fought for the United States during the war. He married and had ten children. He worked hard, ten to fourteen hours a day to feed his family and to put his children through school and college. Yet, he never complained “No one would listen anyway” he would say. “You do what you have to do and that’s all you can do” was his favorite expression. He was married over sixty years to a woman with a heart of gold and the strength to bring up their ten children together. Through the years he worked long hours and he and his wife watched his children grow and marry. Their home was filled with happiness and love. Suddenly it all came to a stop – the gentle giant had a massive stroke on his left side. Therapy was extensive and gave him hope. When another stroke survivor called him, his response was ‘welcome to the club girl and don’t let it get you down just work hard and never give up.’ As the years passed he became weaker. We lost the gentle, hard working father and friend this week after a nine-year struggle with his stroke. He was 93 years old and fought everyday to salvage his body from his stroke.
‘ just work hard and never give up.’
Aphasia Awareness is my passion. “Sharing experiences Knowledge is Power” my radio show on TOGINET [Thursdays @ 11am EST] allows me to connect with millions of people and I am grateful for the opportunity. Aphasia is a very difficult and frustrating condition. Last week I spoke about the symptoms of a stroke, the differences between the right and left side of the brain and diminished abilities after a stroke. Also I spoke about Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences.
Exciting News I am in talks to develop a device to help speaking easier.
A close friend’s brother had a stroke several weeks ago (he is unable to speak and is beyond frustrated), she noticed that I move my hand when I speak and I explained the purpose. Today she wrote me the following: “I tried to get the idea across about speaking a syllable with every stroke of the pen on paper, but we just ended up giggling, but when I flipped the page, he didn’t want me to help him and he wrote his 1st word, clear as can be:
l o v e
We hugged and he went on to write 3 more words that didn’t spell anything, then before I left after my niece and sister returned, they said I think he wants to write again, so I flipped the page and he wrote once again:
l o v e
I was on cloud 9 all the way home ! I believed in him and the power of prayer, and felt that with hard work and
determination he would be able to speak again. This word on paper, spoke loudly to me, that love will get him through.
I thanked God that I met you and heard your story, then bought your book. It has been the most helpful tool for us and worth all of your work in the writing it. I will try to get some time again with him later this week and will put that pen back in his hand. Thanks again for your insight into the effects on the mind and body of a stroke patient.”
The purpose of the book was to hear the success of stroke survivors. My story made the three years of writing my book very moving and special for me.