FEB 05 2021

Tip of the Month - February 2021 - AAC and PPA

Posted by: Jessamy Bell in Tip of the Month

Posted in Tip of the Month

WHY use visual communication supports?

People with Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) benefit from visual support systems in order to help them understand language, events around them and express themselves. Visual supports are evidence based and  there is research behind them. PPA is different from dementia or aphasia resulting from a stroke or other brain injury. With Alzheimer’s dementia, memory loss is one of the first signs. With PPA, difficulty with language is the first sign, while memory and reasoning are usually not affected in the early stages. When helping clients with aphasia after a stroke, you expect to see improvements as they recover, however people with PPA have a degenerative disease that gets worse as time goes on. Nonetheless, there are many strategies and resources which can be used to support communication. 

Communication books

Visual communication supports like communication books can be useful because using photos or pictures combined with the written word can support memory and help with word finding issues. There are many different types of communication books (e.g. size A4 or A5, number of phrases on the page, photos or symbols, etc), so it is important to get your speech-language therapist to help you find one that works for you. TalkLink have many templates, which you can customise to make it meaningful and functional for the person with PPA.

WHAT are visual communication supports? 

There are many different types of visual systems which may help – ideas are listed below.  It is important to remember that learning a new way of communicating can be difficult for a person with PPA, so any visual system must be functional, useful and must be used every day. Visuals displayed in this document can be found on the TalkLink website or by emailing your local TalkLink office with a request for a certain communication support.

  Shopping lists – could be hand written or printed pictures.  You could laminate the visual shopping list and circle (with a white board marker) the items you need to get from the supermarket and then wipe the circle off when you place each item in the trolley to visually show that you have got that item.
Menu boards – you could use Velcro or BlueTack to change the date and food options each day. The menu could also be written on a white board with the page number for a recipe book as a reminder of how to cook that meal.