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Communication and language

Communication tips for family and caregivers

The speech-language pathologist (or speech therapist) will show you ways to help with communication.

It’s important to keep your natural relationship rather than becoming too much of a teacher. Always remember that communication involves 2 people. Help your loved one understand what you’re sharing with them and let them know they can express their thoughts as many times as they need so you understand them.

It helps to:

  • Create an easy, relaxed setting where they can communicate without pressure.
  • Lessen background noise, number of people in the room, and other things going on around you when you’re talking. Make sure you have their attention before you talk.
  • Talk in clear, short sentences. Use an adult tone and vocabulary.
  • Ask yes and no questions and give options for answers (like a multiple choice question and answer).
  • Focus on important information.
  • Use hand movements, single words written down, or act out what you mean if they have trouble understanding.
  • If they have trouble expressing themselves, give them time to communicate the best way they can. Give them your full attention until they’re done communicating.
  • Don’t finish sentences for them. But it’s OK to repeat the message or say it in your own words to make sure you understand it.
  • Don’t ask too many questions at a time. Wait for them to answer a question before asking more.
  • Give hints to help them find or express words, if they’re having trouble.
  • If they keep talking and don’t give the listener a turn to talk, politely let them know that you would like to talk.
  • If you’re having a very hard time understanding, ask them if it’s really important or if they can tell you again later.​

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