Stroke Training and Awareness Resources (STARs)

Strategies to assist communication

We have already discussed a couple of strategies to use for assisting with communication:

  • Sitting in front/to the side of the person where they can see you clearly
  • Speaking slowly
  • Asking the person to repeat anything you have not understood

Below are other strategies you could also use. Click each plus symbol to find out more:

Use a communication board/book – It is worth checking if the person has a communication book which they are familiar using. Sometimes a simple word chart or picture chart can enable the person to get across key words to communicate with you.

Gesture – This may be used instead of/as well as speech to reinforce the message. You may also wish to use gesture when you are communicating to assist their understanding.

Conversation topic – It is important to stick to one topic at a time otherwise the person may lose track of what is being said, or make it very clear when the topic is changing.

Amount of information – Too much information at once can be difficult for the person to follow. Keep sentences short, emphasising the key points and avoid unnecessary detail.

Feedback – It is important to give feedback to the person to ensure that you have understood correctly what is being communicated.

Offer pen and paper – This may allow the person to write down a few key letters or words which may assist you to understand what is being communicated. You could also use this technique to reinforce what you are trying to say – highlighting the key words. Even if the person cannot write they may be able to draw the item they wish to discuss

Page last reviewed: 27 Jan 2020