Generally anyone with a communication problem will need time and your patience to make them feel at ease when they are attempting to communicate. If they are stressed their communication is likely to be worse than if they are relaxed and unhurried.
- Do get help from a Speech and Language Therapist. They can give individual advice and explain how communication has been affected.
- Do give the person eye contact. They will know you are looking directly at them and you can look for subtle changes in facial expressions which can give you clues.
- Do minimise distractions. Turn off television or use a quiet room.
- Do speak to the person as an adult. Childish talk can be frustrating and irritating for the person.
- Do rephrase or repeat. Keep to the point but repeat key words. Simplify sentences.
- Do look for alternatives such as using gestures, objects, pictures, pen and paper.
- Don’t keep interrupting when the person is trying to communicate
- Don’t finish their sentences for them unless they have asked you to do this.
- Don’t pretend you have understood when you have not. This can lead to more confusion.
- Don’t ignore the person if you are in a group they may want to join the conversation.
- Don’t change topics too quickly. Make it clear when one topic is over before moving on to the next.