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
Do you remember what you ate for lunch yesterday? Maybe not, but we’re willing to believe that you remember what you commonly ate for lunch back in your childhood. Whether it was a daily peanut butter and jam sandwich or a hot lunch provided by the school, write down or tell a conversation partner, friend, or family member about as many meals as you can remember. For extra points, describe each food with a single adjective.
Give someone a compliment or thank them. Think of someone who has done something kind for you recently and let them know. If you can’t think of anyone you want to contact and thank, pay close attention today to people extending small moments of kindness. Did someone give you time to say your order at a restaurant and not feel rushed? Do you like your friend’s new shoes? Let them know how much their actions mean to you or how much you like something. You not only get to practice speech; you get to make someone feel good, too.
What if someone was meeting you for the first time? What words would they use to describe you? Or how would you describe yourself to someone who doesn’t know you yet? Write out a description of yourself, either in a paragraph or a list of words. How many adjectives can you use that apply to you? After you describe yourself, imagine if you had to describe your fictional opposite. What are the adjectives that don’t apply to you? For instance, if you described yourself as “adventurous,” then “cautious” would be the opposite word.
Fictional road trip! Go on Google Maps and chart a path between your home and someone you would like to visit. Where are places you could stop along the way? What would you see or do there? Which states do you need to pass along the way? Use this trip planning to practice saying place names aloud, but turn it into a game. Can you attach an adjective to each major attraction you’ll pass along the way?
Every morning, the New York Times Crossword App delivers a fun, wordy treat called the Mini. It’s a five-by-five crossword puzzle, usually with under 10 clues or words to fill in. It is the perfect size and the perfect difficulty. It’s usually the same level as a Monday puzzle, just in miniature. Don’t worry about the timer. Just enjoy this brain puzzle. You can access it via the app, the web version of the New York Times, or in one of their numerous books of mini puzzles.
Instead of a book club, begin a television show club with a conversation partner, friend, or family member. Choose a show to watch together or in two different places at the same time, and then set up a schedule for discussing the episodes. Choose a travel show and talk about the places you see, or choose a mystery show and see if you can solve the puzzle before the detectives on the screen. It’s a great way to practice communication in two ways: listening and speaking.
Walking around your home may be a good exercise—we should all be getting up to move several times per day — but it’s kind of boring. You can make it more exciting by turning a simple walk into a speech activity. Go for a walk around your home five times and name a new thing with each loop. When you’re done, sit down with a paper and pen, computer, or a family member, and write or talk out a story using all five objects.
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.
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