We believe that small is powerful, and morning has the potential to be amazing when you make speech practice fun. BetterTogether is a series of small, actionable activities you can do from home that will help you retain speech progress. It can be used in conjunction with any exercises provided by your speech therapist or used to maintain speech if you are no longer working with a therapist. This is not a special speech therapy program and should not be used in place of recommendations from your speech therapist.
Every morning, try an activity, even if you only do it once. Keep doing the activities you like, repeating them the next day along with the new activity, and drop the ones that don’t work for you.
We hope that by the end of the first week, you’ll have an hour-long (or longer!) habit that will help you retain the progress you’ve made on regaining speech after an aphasia diagnosis or maintaining speech after a primary progressive aphasia diagnosis. New activities are posted each Monday during Aphasia Awareness Month.
This Week’s Activities
Hey there, rockstar! Let’s write a song, one word at a time. Choose a tune you already know, such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Now write your own lyrics, either changing one word in the song to lead to a new idea (“Twinkle twinkle little cat, now I wonder where you sat”) OR simply taking a set of words you’re practicing using and singing them to the tune of the song (“Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, too, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, new”).
Did you struggle to come up with your own lyrics yesterday? Pair with a conversation partner and have them write you a song that you need to sing back. Jump on a Zoom call with a friend or family member, and ask them to write a new song to a tune you already know, such as “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Have them teach you the song, one line at a time, and sing it back to them. Who knows? You may have a new hit on your hands.
Get cranky! Sometimes it’s fun to be disagreeable, especially when it gets your mind going. Ask a communication partner to make a statement (“We should paint the kitchen grey”) or make a statement yourself (“I like sports cars.”) Now disagree with your communication partner or yourself. What is the opposite statement? Get extra points if you can say the opposite AND explain why. (“We shouldn’t paint the kitchen grey because it’s not a happy color. We should paint the kitchen orange!”)
Be a good neighbor by looking out your window and identifying the home (another house or nearby building) of someone you know. Now come up with five conversation starters you could use if you bumped into them today. They could be general questions that can be asked of any other person (“Have you tried that new restaurant yet?”) or refer to an earlier conversation you had with that person (“How was your daughter’s visit?”). It could even be as simple as “how are you?” Use today to practice your conversation starters.
This activity may make you hungry! What are your “comfort” foods? Is it a bag of potato chips? A family recipe? A weird combination of foods that no one else enjoys but you? Make a list of your five favorite comfort foods. Extra points if you write them out and put them in alphabetical order. You can also list where you can find them in the store, or which ingredients you need to make your favorite foods. Extra extra points if you get or cook your food today.
It is “opposite” day again… kind of. Take your list of comfort foods yesterday and write out the first letter of each word. For example, “spaghetti with tomato sauce” would be S. Now come up with a food you dislike that starts with the same letter. In other words, “spaghetti with tomato sauce” turns into “snails.” If you want to make it harder, try to use every first letter in the name of the dish — even if it makes your new, terrible dish inedible, such as “snails with turkey schnitzel.” The more ridiculous, the better.
Name that card. Grab a deck of cards, shuffle them, and then flip them over one by one, naming the card — “queen of hearts.” Name the color of the suit (“red”) and whether the number is odd or even on each number card. Make a note of which cards are easiest to say — maybe the first ones are hard, but after you get into a rhythm, the last ones are easier.
Want more activities? Try more activities from our original One Aphasia Action list, Take Aphasia Action from Aphasia Awareness Month 2020, or the See It Say It activities from Aphasia Awareness Month 2021.