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
Write down ten friends from childhood or high school. Now describe each of them in a single word. Were they kind? Smart? Funny? How do you remember these people you haven’t seen in many years? What memories do these people trigger? If you’re still in touch with people from that era of your life, make a plan to jump on Zoom or email and reminisce. If you’re not in touch with anyone, that’s okay. The point of this activity is to come up with adjectives — the more the better.
Say it and do it. Focus on a single verb today (cook, run, jump, drive, talk). How often can you use the verb in a sentence? How many times can you do this verb today, repeating the word as you do the action? How many people can you talk about that action with, reinforcing the word as you describe the activity? See if you can link the first verb to another verb, passing the action focus like a baton. For instance, if your first word is “cook,” and you cook a meal, can you transition to a second verb such as “clean” and repeat that verb as you clean up from the meal?
The QWERTY keyboard takes the alphabet in an odd order, starting with one of the hardest letters to use — Q. Look at the keyboard and starting in the top left corner, try to come up with one word that begins with that first letter. For example, for Q, you may write down “quick.” For the second letter, W, write down two words. For the third letter, E, write down three words. When you get to the end of the first line of keys (10th letter = 10 words = P), jump down to the next row and find eleven words that begin with A. This means that by the time you get to M, you will need to come up with 26 words!
Grab someone in your home (or, if you live alone, this game is easy to play via FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype) —it’s time for a friendly game of Hangman. If you’ve never played, the rules are simple. One person thinks up a word and draws a row of dashes — one for each letter in the word. The second player guesses letters. The first player either places those letters on the correct dash (if the letter is in the word) or writes them in a rejected area. Every time the person guesses a letter in the word, they go again. If they get a letter wrong, you can draw a stick figure, one body part at a time. The person wins when they guess the word or loses if they guess so many wrong letters that a full person is drawn on the paper.
Set the random number generator from 100 – 814, and then find the chosen number on the Pantone chart. For instance, if you get 633, you go over to the Pantone chart and find color 633 — a lovely shade of blue. Write “blue” at the top of a piece of paper and try to list ten things that are blue, and then say the word or phrase after you write it. If you get stuck, walk around at home or outdoors and try to find things that match that color.
Put on your best Sherlock Holmes thinking cap and read a brief mystery or brain teaser that will get you to look at clues in a unique way. If you Google “one-minute mystery,” you can find hundreds of these tiny brain teasers. Or, follow this link to find a ton of one-minute mysteries and their solutions. This activity is even better if you can make a plan to do them with a conversation partner, friend, or family member. Talk through the mystery — what you know and what you don’t know — and try to solve it before peeking at the answer.
Grab a conversation partner, friend, or family member and create a sentence together, one word at a time. The first person begins and says one word — for example, “the.” The next person needs to add a word that makes sense after the word before it. For instance, “the” is an article, so the next person needs to add a noun or adjective to make sense, such as “furry.” The first person adds another word, always remembering the words before it so the sentence makes sense. For instance, the next word can be a noun or another adjective, but it can’t be a verb yet. (Correct = The furry dog; Wrong = The furry jumps) You get a point if you’re not the person ending the sentence. In other words, you want the sentence to go on as long as possible and not be the person to finish it.
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.