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Speech Therapy At Home: Practicing Conversation

voice therapy for Parkinson's

Managing a communication disorder can be difficult, but the right strategies can make all the difference.  Learn what strategies you can use at home to make talking and conversation easier.

We have conversations every day, all day long.  But when someone has a communication impairment, like after a stroke or traumatic brain injury, even a “simple” conversation can become a challenge.  Conversations are essential to recovery.  The 2 way communication and just the interaction, helps speed progress.


But there are tools that can help.

Conversation and ALL communication, involves at least 2 participants.  BOTH people are responsible for the message and need to work together to be successful.

Having practice conversations is a form of practicing strategies you learned in speech therapy and will help BOTH people improve their communication skills.  Keep these practice sessions short initially; less than 15 minutes.  5 minutes is better.

Here’s how…..


Focus on topics that:

are low stress

involve happy Memories

value their knowledge (use their area of expertise) so they’re confident.

Example topics:

Favorite photo, like a classic car

hobby-related object, like a hammer

Grocery list

Packing list

Tip:  When practicing, choose a time when BOTH people are relaxed and in a calm, comfortable, quiet environment.  Extra sounds like the TV, radio, or even a busy street can be distracting and add an extra challenge.


Use short phrases

Ask short, simple questions that don’t have a “wrong” answer

Ask their opinion/preference

repeat their message.
add what you think they may be trying to say.
pull things together at the end of a longer discussion.


Encourage drawing.
Write key words.

Write your key words; when you figure out one of his words, write it down.

Underline the first letter/sound to draw attention to it.

Ensure you understand.

After you write his word, say the word, e.g.  “boat, yes?” then encourage him to respond “yes” (or “no” if appropriate, e.g. if you misunderstood)

Give plenty of time to respond.
Ignore minor errors.
Remember: The goal is effective communication, not perfect.


The more you practice,

The easier it is to use the strategies,

The smoother communication will be.

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