Difficulties with Expression or Speech

Difficulties with Expression or SpeechMy blog post Communication Skills was a reminder to all of us about how important good communication skills are and how we can forget simple strategies in our busy day to day lives. In my job as a Speech and Language Therapist, I work with people who are experiencing communication difficulties following a stroke or brain injury. These difficulties impact upon everyday communication with family, friends, healthcare professionals, shop assistants to name a few. So how do we adapt our communication skills in these circumstances? My blog post Listening or Understanding Difficulties focused upon communicating with people with receptive communication challenges so what about people who are having difficulties with expression or speech? This blog is focussing on those areas and these are my top tips:

  • Allow the person time to respond, this might not be seconds but a minute or two
  • Try not to intervene by providing a word or finishing off a sentence if there is a long pause. This can be very distracting for the person speaking and can result in them losing their train of thought. It can also add to the overall frustration if the help given is not the correct word.
  • Ladies chatting over coffeeDo not rush someone when they are speaking, be patient and allow time
  • Do not be afraid to tell someone you have not understood something. Clarify what you have understood so far and work together to work out the word or section you have not understood
  • Be prepared that a person might swear or use jargon following a stroke or brain injury. This can be common particularly in the early days. It is not intentional but can be upsetting for family or friends
  • Try having a pen and paper to hand so that someone can attempt writing or drawing to supplement their speech
  • Be positive and encourage any attempts at communication whether it is via speech, writing, drawing, or gesture.

The above tips are general communication principles which can be helpful and hopefully offer you a starting point. However, when a person has difficulties with communication these can present in a variety of ways and so some strategies are more appropriate or helpful than others. A Speech and Language Therapist can offer individual support and advice so please do not hesitate to ask for that assistance.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today. More of my blog articles are available here. Please do get in touch if there is anything you would like to share or ask.

Best wishes