Script Training for Stroke and Aphasia Survivors

Major life changes, such as a stroke, can alter the way we see ourselves. For example, before his stroke Dave was a weather forecaster for the local news station. He was a bit of local celebrity, and he had a strong self-identity as a well-known figure in the community. For years he had been actively involved with his city’s annual Coats for Kids coat drive and giveaway. He loved sharing stories about Coats for Kids to everyone he met. That was before his stroke.

After his stroke, Dave had expressive aphasia and was no longer able to say his name, let alone share stories. All of the words he once would use to describe himself no longer seemed to fit—weatherman; the “Coats For Kids Guy”, etc. He was still those things, but he could no longer work or travel around his city as easily. And, not being able to share his stories made it difficult for others to see Dave as the same person he had always been. Dave became depressed. Not only had the stroke taken his words, it had taken his identity.

Fortunately, Dave’s speech pathologist knew about Script Training. Script Training is an evidenced-based treatment for aphasia that it has been clinically proven as effective. Script training can be helpful for people with aphasia to improve their ability to communicate.

How Does Script Training Work?

In Script Training, the person with aphasia and the speech-language pathologist (SLP) work together to create scripts. A script is a predictable sequence of sentences. A script can be a story that the person with aphasia tells, also known as a monologue. A script can also be between two people, such as ordering food in a restaurant. In either of those cases, the words the person with aphasia will use are easy to predict.

The person with aphasia and SLP can identify scripts that will be useful in the person’s everyday life. Practicing these scripts then helps the person with aphasia to be able to interact with others in everyday scenarios.

Improvements can be seen in sentence formation, rate of speech, and confidence. Once the person with aphasia has success with a script in one setting, it is easier to use the same script in other settings or with different people. People who communicate with AAC devices can also use scripts. The scripts can be programmed into the device and the user can use the device to speak or use it as a cue to improve their own speech.

In Dave’s case, he and his SLP created a script to help Dave tell about his Coats for Kids work.

  • Dave: I love helping at Coats for Kids.
  • Dave: I have helped for 30 years.
  • Dave: I have helped collect over 25,000 coats.
  • Dave: I love to see kids happy.
  • Dave: It’s a fun day for everyone!

Dave and his SLP have practiced this script repeatedly in speech therapy. They have been able to practice sentence completion exercises, writing, and numbers while working on this script. Once Dave was able to verbalize the script with the SLP, he then used the same script to share his story with staff at the rehabilitation center. Finally, he was able to share his story at his stroke support group to tell new friends about who he is and what he enjoys.

Dave and his SLP have used Script Training to work on other scripts as well. Dave has found Script Training meaningful, functional, and fun. Not only has his speech improved, but he’s starting to feel more like his old self.

Free Therapy and Communication Apps

TalkPath Therapy

Exercises designed for practicing and rebuilding speech and language skills.

TalkPath News

An online news source designed to engage and test language comprehension.

SmallTalk

Icon and video-based apps that help you communicate in everyday situations.

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