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
Find a new podcast. From classic radio shows on the BBC app to current news or pop culture discussion podcasts on Stitcher, find something to listen to, even if you don’t catch every word. You can slow down podcasts to half speed on Apple products or other mobile devices. Get more out of this activity by forming an informal podcast discussion club. Connect with a friend or family member over Zoom or in-person, and discuss the episode after you both listen.
Open the voice memo app on your mobile device or use an old dictation machine if you have one. Record yourself reading a short poem, paragraph of a news article, or letter aloud. Now listen back and try to repeat along with yourself. Are you saying the words easier the second time around? Are you slower than the original recording? Remember not to compare your progress to anyone else — you are only working to improve your speech.
Do a sweet activity without consuming a calorie. Get a piece of paper and write out the letters of your name in a column going down, or jump on a Zoom call with a friend or family member. Now come up with a dessert that goes with each letter in your name. For example, if your name is S – A – M, you may come up with “swiss roll,” “apple pie,” and “mallomars.” You can work on this alone, or if you are on a call with a friend or family member, trade-off to come up with desserts.
Make social media a little more social. Go on Facebook, Twitter, or your favorite platform. Find an interesting post and read the comments or replies aloud. Think through what you would say and write your well-thought-out response. Most people click quickly through the internet, but people really appreciate it when someone takes the time to think and form a kind response back.
Rhyme time. (Hey! That rhymes!) Have a conversation partner come up with a list of words or use the random word generator to give yourself a set of words. Now come up with another word that rhymes. For instance, if the random word generator gives you “drama,” you come up with “mama.” How long can you keep going, finding rhyming words, before you find a word that doesn’t have a rhyme?
Take a half-hour to watch a new television this morning. If you’re reading this in the evening, you can watch it now, too, just pay attention to the time for the second part of this activity. Wait twelve or so hours — at least from morning until evening (or evening until morning) — and then describe the episode to another person. Do you remember what happened? Which events or words stand out in your mind? Can you remember the characters’ names? Knowing you’ll need to talk about it later can help you pay attention while you watch and remember the words you want to say later.
Make a Goodreads account and find a great new book to read. Goodreads can help you keep track of books you have read and books you want to read. Read aloud titles from their curated lists (“Upcoming mystery books”) or find friends and connect with them to see what they’re reading. Audiobooks, paper books, and e-books all count, so find a few stories you want to experience today.
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.