Winter is a time when people gather with friends and family. We’ve spoken many times about talking in groups. But people also use the holiday season to catch up with family and friends who live far away. We asked people with aphasia for their best tips for conversations when the person isn’t in the same room. Here’s what they said at the Aphasia Cafe chat.

Think About Timing

Brooke A. thinks about the timing of the call or Zoom chat to ensure it goes well. “I like doing phone calls in the morning when I’m more awake. The afternoons and evenings are better for doing zoom, so I can use a board if I need help getting a sentence out or having a picture.” Think about YOUR best time of day or whether you want to wait until there is someone else to help you.

Choose the Best Device

Bruce L. tells people to consider the screen size when it comes to video calls. “I use my laptop to see who is talking, as a phone is too small to see their faces.” If you have trouble with video calls, try using a different device. Some phones can hook up to a television to give people the largest screen possible.

Choose the Best Device, Part Two

Betsy M. points out that people with aphasia need to choose their best communication option and ask the other person to use it, too. She explains: “It’s hard for me to talk on the phone. I get distracted, but I seem to be doing well using FaceTime.” At the same time, Mert R. has a different preference. “Text because I can think about what I want to say before I hit the send button.”

Give Instructions

Many people said they provide aphasia-friendly communication tips. Sometimes people need to be reminded to:


  • “Slow down” (Frank R)
  • ‘Repeat your information for a clearer understanding” (Marina A)
  • “Short questions, short answers” (KC Fisher)
  • “Take a deep breath, and take your time” (Rodger H)


Bayfield L says, “When I phone, I warn that sometimes I do not speak very well.”


Worried about the conversation? Jot down a few topics that you want to make sure you talk about. Jim G. says, “Write down what you want to talk about so you don’t forget.”


What are your best tips?


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