Experience what it's like to have a communication difficulty
All of us can experience
The following exercises
help us connect with our experience of different kinds of communication
mimic the types of communication problems faced by patients with TBI:
damage to the communication areas of
finding difficulties (dysphasia): think of
a country that starts with the letter 'L' Do
You may have felt like
the word was on the “tip of the tongue”.
To get to the word, you would have had to access your stored knowledge
about names of countries, and specifically countries starting with “L”.
It might have taken some time to come up with an answer. People
with word finding difficulties may have difficulty with accessing
information about words, and take more time to retrieve the words
they want to say.
control difficulties (dysarthria): try chewing
two minties or other hard lollies while reading this page
out loud. Get
some lollies. Do it now!
You probably noticed that it was more difficult to move your tongue
when you were talking, and there was more saliva in your mouth.
This made your speech difficult to understand.
co-ordination difficulties (dyspraxia): say
the tongue twister
"Mixed Biscuits" 5 times in 4 seconds Do
The sequence of mouth
movements needed to produce the phrase, “Mixed
Biscuits” was difficult. You knew what you wanted to say,
but it was difficult to produce the words with sounds in the right
order, and you may have produced some sounds incorrectly.
a game of charades and describe your favourite food without
it now - even if you haven't got an audience
You were probably able to communicate
quite a lot of information about your
favourite food, even without using
words. A person with severe communication
difficulties may need to use non-verbal
methods to communicate.
damage to the cognitive areas of
the brain which may cause:
as well as you usually do: remember a time
when you have been very tired and have had to explain a complex
task to someone else.
When you are very tired and trying to explain something, it
may take you longer to what you want to say and the words you
need to use. You may also have difficulty with concentration
damage to the brain's frontal lobe causing which may cause
social communication deficits for
/ social communication difficulties: try
having a conversation with someone about your
weekend plans who
does not maintain eye contact with you Do
it now if you can find someone to talk with
Eye contact is one skill that is
important to good communication.
If you are talking to a person who
does not have good eye contact,
you may feel like they are not really
listening, or you may be unsure
how they are responding to what
you are saying. People with a brain
injury may have changes to their
social communication skills that
make it difficult for others to
interact with them.
While we might find
some of these tasks difficult, patients with TBI face these types of
problems with all their day to day communication. Therefore, it is important
that we have strategies for assisting them to get their message across.