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4 Tips for Better Communication for those with Speech Impairment

Submitted by hfannin on Sun, 05/17/2020 - 13:20

People with speech impairment know more than what they are able to say.

There is no doubt the prevalence of communication disorders impacts our mental, social, physical and economic health individually and as a community. Increased risk of depression due to social isolation. Decreased earning potential due to the loss of a job or difficulty gaining employment. Increased risk of untreated health issues due to communication breakdowns with medical providers.

The chance that you know someone with a communication impairment is higher than you think, or YOU may be that person. There is hope! 

Here are 4 quick tips for better communication for those with speech impairment.

#1 Be patient

Communication can be hard WITHOUT an impairment, so the expectation for a quick response can add frustration or anxiety to those who do have one. Let the person know "It's cool, Take your time." or let them know you want to hear what they have to say and set up a time to speak with them when you're not so rushed.  For those with communication difficulty: Be patient with yourself. Be upfront about your challenges, give yourself time & use your strategies. You got this!

#2 Try other forms of Communication

Communication is about getting your message across. If speech is particularly hard for you, try writing it down, making gestures, using pictures, or a combination of strategies. IT’S NOT "CHEATING"! Go with what works best for you!

#3 Seek Support

Knowing someone is in the same fight with you makes all the difference! Try to communicate about your challenges with someone; maybe a family member, friend, or support group. If you know someone with communication challenges, don’t avoid them! Understand that it’s just as frustrating for them as it is for you. Ask them or their caregivers what forms of communication works best and try it. Don’t give up!

#4 Try Speech Therapy ... again

Maybe you had speech therapy in the past or never tried it. Research has shown us the brain can adapt & change over time. Those living with aphasia, for example, are making gains months and years after the initial stroke or injury. Maybe there is a goal you want to achieve or a specific skill you want to improve. An individualized speech therapy program can help with that. Those with progressive conditions benefit from having a speech pathologist show them & their families how to adjust communication for their current stage in the disease process. Are you a business or organization that services people with communication impairment? Seek a speech pathologist to educate and train your staff on how to best adapt your services for those with communication challenges.

    To all the adults & children living with communication impairment. Never give up hope! We SEE you, we HEAR you, and will continue to work FOR YOU!