Aphasia Simulations: What It Might Be Like To Have Aphasia
by Jacqueline Hinckley on May 25, 2011
Those of us who don’t have aphasia cannot truly understand what it is like, although we can do our best to imagine what it might be like. If we try to put ourselves in the shoes of a person with aphasia, we will likely be better communication partners.
To address this, we are pleased to announce Aphasia Simulations, an online tool designed to help people better imagine what it might be like to have aphasia. The simulations demonstrate different types of language problems in all areas affected by aphasia: listening comprehension, reading comprehension, writing, and speaking.
Have you ever said something like, “I just can’t explain what it was like…words fail me” or “It was really something to be there…more so than just reading about it or seeing pictures”. You might have said this about a place you visited or an interaction you’ve had.
We’ve all had experiences that reveal something beyond what we could have understood from words or pictures. Learning from experience is powerful as it changes our knowledge, as well as our attitudes and emotions.
Teaching caregivers, community members, students and other health professionals about aphasia is most meaningful when those individuals can interact with people with aphasia. We’ve created Aphasia Simulations as a tool that can be used to help provide this kind of experience.
Caregivers of individuals with aphasia often benefit from simulation experiences. Caregivers say that, although they may have been living with someone with aphasia for many years, they don’t really understand what communication challenges the person is facing until going through similar experiences as they do in simulations. Caregivers often benefit from discussing their simulation experience in a group with other caregivers.
Health professionals are likely to become more empathetic communication partners if trained on how to communicate with people with aphasia. (In the past, simulation-type experiences have often been called “sensitivity training”.)
Community members, including emergency first-responders and business owners, can benefit from experiencing what it might be like to have aphasia. Aphasia Simulations also makes a great tool to help students understand aphasia.
We are looking forward to your feedback about Aphasia Simulations. We hope that you will find it a useful way to help people understand what it might be like to have aphasia.
We know that many speech-language pathologists have created and used their own simulation activities to educate others. Please share your ideas with us and with others by posting a comment to this blog or by emailing us at email@example.com.
Aphasia logo image courtesy of National Aphasia Association.