Speech Tips for Anomic Aphasia

Speech Tips for Anomic Aphasia

Anomic aphasia is a communication disorder that affects a person’s ability to understand, produce, or read written or spoken words. Aphasia presents differently in each person. In fact, the only thing everyone with aphasia has in common is that aphasia does not affect the person’s intellect.

Anomic aphasia can occur after a head injury or stroke. It can also be the result of a brain tumor. In rare cases, aphasia is the result of primary progressive aphasia (PPA), which is a neurodegenerative disorder.

Anomic aphasia is one of the milder forms of aphasia. The term is applied to persons who are left with a persistent inability to supply the words for the very things they want to talk about, particularly the significant nouns and verbs.


Their speech is fluent and grammatically correct but it is full of vague words and circumlocutions (attempts to describe the word they are trying to find). The feeling is often that of having the word on the tip of one’s tongue, which results in their speech having lots of expressions of frustration.

Speech Therapy exercises for Stroke management

People with anomic aphasia understand speech well and they can repeat words and sentences.  In most cases, they can read adequately. Difficulty finding words is as evident in writing as it is in speech.

Where does communication break down?

  • There are many types of aphasia, and each ( Broca, Wernicke, global, etc) comes with its own challenges.
  • Some people with aphasia have difficulty taking in messages. They have trouble understanding what other people are saying or what they’re reading.
  • Other people with aphasia have difficulty producing messages.
  • Saying the correct word, remembering how to say what they want to say, getting started speaking, or writing may be impaired.
  • Aphasia can affect speaking, understanding, writing, and reading.


  • Aphasia can be isolating. Imagine not being able to easily convey your thoughts to your friends and family. Difficulty in making others understand what they’re trying to convey.
  • But aphasia doesn’t have to be isolating. In fact, it can go a long way for a person with aphasia to know that you’re trying to help them to communicate and remain part of the conversation.
  • Try to help friends and family understand that the old ways of communicating may not work, and they’ll need to adjust in order to keep the person part of the conversation.

Here are few tips one can follow to facilitate aphasia friendly communication:

Use more than one means of communication

  • You already use more than one means of communication. As you speak, you also make gestures with your hands and use facial expressions in order to make them understand your point.
  • You should always use more than just your words to communicate.
  • Additionally, be mindful of what you’re using to communicate. Does the tool you’re using such as the telephone limit the other signals you can be giving the person, such as seeing those gestures or facial expressions to aid in understanding?
  • You may need to switch the medium, such as moving from phone call to video call, in order to enhance communication.
  • It’s not just gestures and facial expressions. Other communication aids may be pictures, pantomime, combining writing/reading and speaking, pointing to keywords, or communication apps.

Online speech therapy for aphasia

Pause and Listen

  • Conversations with someone with aphasia may take more time.
  • It helps to go into the conversation knowing that you need to be patient, utilize pauses, and wait.

  • The more you clearly convey that the other person should take their time, the better they’ll be able to communicate.
  • Stress increases communication difficulties, so make sure you are sending clear signals with your body language that you are patient.

Keep it Quiet

  • We all hear best when people speak to us at a normal volume rather than shouting, and when we hold conversations with minimal distractions.
  • This fact is even more important when it comes to aphasia-friendly communication.
  • Whenever possible, go somewhere quiet to speak, where you can see each other face-to-face.

Keep it Simple

  • Keeping it simple doesn’t mean treating the person like a child that denies their maturity.
  • It means thinking through what you need to say, removing the unnecessary parts of the story or questions, and getting to the exact meaning of the matter.
  • Keeping sentences brief provides more moments to pause and ensure that both people are following the conversation.



Communication Strategies: Some Do’s and Dont’s

The impact of aphasia on relationships may be profound, or only slight. No two people with aphasia are alike with respect to severity, former speech and language skills, or personality. But in all cases, it is essential for the person to communicate as successfully as possible from the very beginning of the recovery process.

Below are some suggestions to help communicate with a person with anomic aphasia. Make sure you have the person’s attention before you start.

  • Minimize or eliminate background noise (TV, radio, other people).
  • Keep your own voice at a normal level, unless the person has indicated otherwise.
  • Keep communication simple but like an adult.
  • Simplify your own sentence structure and reduce your rate of speech.
  •  Emphasize key words in the conversation.
  • Give them time to speak. Resist the urge to finish sentences or offer words.
  • Communicate with drawings, gestures, writing, and facial expressions in addition to speech.
  • Confirm that you are communicating successfully with “yes” and “no” questions.
  • Praise all attempts to speak and downplay any errors. Avoid insisting that each word should be produced perfectly.
  • Engage in normal activities whenever possible.
  •  Do not shield people with aphasia from family or ignore them in a group conversation. Rather, try to involve them in family decision-making as much as possible. Keep them informed of events but avoid burdening them with day to day details.
  • Encourage independence and avoid being overprotective.

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Priyanka Rawat
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