One strategy that can be simple and very helpful when communicating with someone with aphasia is eliminating distractions. Creating the best possible communication environment can make communication much more successful. Some ways that you can improve the environment include:
Minimize background noise. Turn off the TV and music. If you are outdoors in a noisy environment, try to find a quieter area or go indoors.
Avoid crowded areas. If you are in a public place, crowds of people can be noisy as well as visually distracting. Try to go to an area with fewer people, or even sit facing away from the crowd if needed.
Consider lighting. Bright lighting can be helpful for someone with aphasia to see facial expressions, gestures, and any pictures or visual aids. However, if the person is using technology to help them communicate, direct sunlight can make the screen harder to see. Position yourselves to reduce glare on any screens being used.
Reduce clutter and visual distractions. You can’t control all environments, but simplifying the home can help improve communication. While decorations and typical household items are just fine, excessive clutter can be a distraction.
Close doors. Whether you’re in a room of your home or the doctor’s office, people walking by and noises from outside the room can be distracting.
A quick survey of your environment can go a long way. Before starting a conversation, check out your surroundings and see how you can help set the stage for a successful conversation.