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
Open the camera roll on your mobile device or get out a photo album and play photo roulette. Randomly scroll or open to a page and see where you land. Describe the photo aloud: the people in the image, the place, the time, the activity. Talk about the photo as much as you can; how it makes you feel to see it, whether the person in it still looks the same way, or whether you’ve recently been back to the same place. Once you’ve said everything you can about that image, start scrolling again or turn to a new, random page and see which image pops up next.
A cinquain is a five-line poem, and one form uses a set number of syllables for each line: 2 – 4 – 6 – 4 – 2. In other words, the first line is a two-syllable word or words. The next line contains four syllables. The one after that has six syllables, with the fourth and fifth lines growing smaller in size (four syllables and then two syllables). Can you write your own cinquain? They’re often written about something in nature, and because they don’t rhyme, you don’t have to worry about the sound as much as the length of the word.
WikiHow is a website where you can learn how to do… anything. Go on the site and choose something that requires a series of actions. Read aloud the first, bold line in each section and pantomime doing that action to make the verb memorable. If you’re having trouble with reading, ask a conversation partner to act out the step (just the first, bold line) and have you guess what they are doing.
Grab a conversation partner (or two or three), and play one of the games on the Aphasia Games for Health site. These games require two or more people and can be played in-person or online. If you don’t have family or friends that can join you, you can watch the videos on the site of people playing the games and hit pause when possible so you can play along at home as best you can.
Check out a children’s book with pictures on every page from the library, or grab one from your shelf at home. Instead of reading the words, you’re going to cover them up and describe the image on each page. How detailed can you be? After you describe the image, remove your hand and read the words. We’re willing to bet that your description will be even better than what is on the page and add greatly to the story.
If the Wordle frustrates you to no end, try the Globle. Tap on the map and type any country. The country will appear on the globe — tan or orange means you’re far away, and the darker the red means the closer you are to the mystery country. This exercise will help you think about country names and distance, but you can use it to think of one major attraction in each country you guess or rate them based on how much or how little you want to visit. Because you’re practicing speech and not getting a degree in geography, feel free to open a map while you play and use it to look up country names.
Spend today looking around you, naming the objects you see. Whenever you name an object, also give it an adjective (or several!) that describes the object. For example, if you’re on a walk, begin by saying “tree.” But then describe the tree with adjectives, such as “tall tree,” “oak tree,” or “pretty tree.” Your chair becomes a comfortable chair, a leather chair, or a brown chair. If you have a communication partner, let them choose the object and then you choose the adjectives. Then switch off!
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.