The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) defines aphasia as:
An acquired neurogenic language disorder resulting from an injury to the brain… Aphasia involves varying degrees of impairment in four primary areas:
- Spoken language expression
- Spoken language comprehension
- Written expression
- Reading comprehension
ASHA goes on to do a great overview of aphasia. In this article, we will give you 23 activities you can use to treat impairments in Language Expression & Writing.
What We’ll Cover
1. How to Cue (minimal to maximal cues)
2. Word Finding Tips for patients
3. 23 Expressive Writing & Language Treatment Activities you can use today!
How to Cue
The following is a hierarchy of how to cue during Expressive Language treatment. The cues are listed from minimal to maximal help.
FUNCTION. State what the target word is used for, what its purpose is.
RHYMING WORD. The word rhymes with_____.
WRITTEN CUES. Write the first letter and add as many dashes as there are remaining letters.
SENTENCE COMPLETION. Ask the patient to fill in the blank.
MODEL. Provide the target word.
If the patient answers correctly (regardless of level of cueing). Reinforce the correct answer with positive feedback and elaborate the response.
If the patient answer incorrectly. If their language comprehension allows for it, discuss how the errors may be related to the correct
Word Finding Tips
• Who would use it?
• What does it look like?
• Where do you find it?
• When would you use it?
• Why would you use it?
• How is it used?
SYNONYMS. Use a similar word.
• For example, say PIANO instead of ORGAN
OPPOSITE WORD. Use antonyms, or opposite words.
• For example, say NOT HOT instead of COLD
GROUP OR CATEGORY.
• Person, place or thing.
• Section of the store you’d find it in.
FIRST LETTER OR FIRST SOUND.
GESTURES. Point, act out, or play charades.
23 Expressive Language & Writing Treatment Activities
These activities are organized from simple to more complex.
1. Sing the Alphabet
Print, write, or otherwise have a large-print Alphabet available on one page. Cue your patient to “sing the ABCs” while pointing to each letter.
2. Automatic Phrases
Say each of the series aloud, pointing to each number or word as you go.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10.
10 20 30 40 50
60 70 80 90 100.
100 200 300 400 500
600 700 800 900 1,000.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.
January, February, March, April, May,
June, July, August, September,
October, November, December.
3. Object Naming
Use physical objects in your environment for this activity. Substitute objects as needed. One by one, point to an object and ask the patient, “What is the name of this?”
4. Sentence Completion
Ask the patient to complete the sentence. Either read the sentence aloud or have the patient read the sentence. They may say or write the answer, depending on your treatment goals.
- This room is either too hot or too …
- My pants are either too loose or too …
- You are either wrong or …
- He is either happy or …
- The answer can be true or …
- You can go either up or …
- Not everything is either black or …
- I can’t tell if it’s day or …
- The towel is either wet or …
- He bought a new set of tables and …
- Do you have any brothers or …
- It’s too bright in here, please turn off the …
- I grabbed the shampoo and washed my …
- Take out the kettle and boil some…
- She went to library to borrow a …
5. Naming from Description
Ask the patient to name what is being described. Either read the sentences aloud or have the patient read them. They may say or write the answer.
- This animal is black and white, is from Africa, and looks like a horse.
- These structures are found in Egypt, are the tombs of pharaohs, and are
shaped like triangles.
- This place is an island in the Pacific Ocean known for ukuleles, hula skirts,
and is a state in the United States.
- This goes over a small cut, sticks to your skin, and helps avoid infection.
- These are worn on your feet and are usually worn with shoes.
- This food is typically eaten for breakfast, comes from a chicken, and can
be fried, scrambled, or boiled.
- This alcoholic drink is made from grapes, famously comes from Italy or
France, and is sold in glass bottles.
- This job involves going to court and proving clients as guilty or innocent.
- This object is used to cut logs in half and has “teeth.”
- This vehicle has many seats, wings, and can fly.
6. Category Naming
Ask the patient to name what category each set of words belongs to. Either read the words aloud or have the patient read them. They may say or write the answer.
- Dog, cat, horse, pig
- Water, juice, milk, coffee
- Spring, summer, fall, winter
- Shirt, jeans, sweater, blouse
- Texas, Florida, Ohio, Kansas
- Hammer, screwdriver, saw, wrench
- Notepad, stapler, scissors, tape
- New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, Veteran’s Day, Halloween
- Table, sofa, chair, bed
- Milk, yogurt, cheese, creamer
- Pie, cake, ice cream, tart
- December, January, February, March
- Maple, cedar, oak, birch
- Red, blue, yellow, green
- Apple, pear, plum, banana
7. Category Members
Name at least 3 items that belong to each category. Or, name as many items from each category as you can in 1 minute.
• Farm animals
• Jungle animals
• Breakfast foods
• Salty foods
• Tourist attractions
• Bodies of water
• Ancient places
• Kitchen objects
• Bedroom objects
• Bathroom objects
• Lawn and garden objects
• Men’s names
• Women’s names
• Last names
• Family member names
• Names that start with “S”
8. Rhyming Words
Fill in the blank with the word that is being described. All of the answers rhyme.
- Past tense of “spin”
- What Earth revolves around
- You put a hotdog in it
- 2,000 pounds equals one
- A religious woman
- Granddaughter’s brother
- Enjoyable and entertaining
- More than zero
- More than a jog
- Avoid or reject someone
9. Same Letter
Fill in the blank with the word that is being described. All of the words begin with the same letter.
- A feline pet
- Automobile with four wheels
- You drink out of one
- You sit on it by a table
- A large town
- A dessert topped with icing
- Similar to a sofa
- 100 years
- Given out on Halloween
- Replicate or imitate
Read each word. Think of a similar word, a word that has the same meaning.
Read each word. What is the opposite word? A word with the opposite meaning?
12. Needed Items
Name three things you need to…
- Make a cup of tea
- Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
- Fry an egg
- Cook pasta
- Make a salad
- Go on a camping trip
- Make a holiday dinner
- Plant a seed
- Change a tire
- Clean the bathroom
13. Complete the Series
What word comes next in each series?
- First, second, third, ______
- Penny, nickel, dime, ______
- Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, ______
- Summer, Fall, Winter, ______
- Infant, toddler, child, ______
- A, B, C, ______
- Ten, eleven, twelve, _______
- Freshman, sophomore, junior, ______
- Red, orange, yellow, ______
- Mercury, Venus, Earth, ______
14. Naming Emotions
How would you feel in the following situations? What emotions would you feel?
- You found out you got your dream job.
- All your loved ones forgot your birthday.
- A person yelled at you and called you bad names.
- You heard on the news that your hometown experienced a natural disaster.
- Your good friend had a baby.
- While driving, you saw a police car with its flashing right behind you.
- The political candidate you voted for lost the election.
- You worked hard all day and now you’re taking a hot bath.
- The neighbor’s dog barked at 4 am, waking you up.
- You drove to your very last day of work before retiring.
15. Differences Between Words
What is the difference between each of these two words?
- Lock and key
- Flowers and grass
- Ketchup and mustard
- Guitar and violin
- Spoon and fork
- Coffee and tea
- Newspaper and magazine
- Bracelet and necklace
- Honey and syrup
- Bread and toast
- Rock and pebble
- Bookstore and library
- Bicycle and motorcycle
- Bronze and gold
- Sluggish and slow
16. Twenty Questions
Have your patient guess each word by asking up to 20 questions. Questions must be yes/no. If they struggle to come up with questions, model the activity: share a word and ask yes/no questions for them.
- Napoleon Bonaparte
- The Great Wall of China
- Mount Everest
- Santa Claus
- Queen Elizabeth
- Valentine’s Day
- Marilyn Monroe
- Movie theater
- New Year’s Day
- The bank
17. Complete the Sentences
Read the following situations and respond as appropriate.
- You’re at a restaurant and your salad arrives. However, you don’t have any utensils. You turn to your waiter and say…
- You are at the movie theater, but the person sitting next to you is talking so loudly that you can’t hear the movie. You turn to the person and say…
- You are at the shopping mall and see a little girl standing alone, crying. She is looking around for someone. You approach the little girl and say…
- Your doctor appointment starts in 10 minutes, but you’re stuck in traffic. You call up the doctor’s office and say…
- You find a pair of glasses on the ground. A few minutes later, you see someone squinting, looking on the ground and patting his pockets. You approach him and say…
18. Giving Directions
“Pretend that I’ve never done these activities before. How do I…?”
- Brush my teeth
- Make a cup of tea
- Boil a pot of water
- Mail a letter
- Make toast
- Deposit a check
- Do a jumping jack
- Peel a banana
- Plant a seed
- Fold a shirt
- Wash a car
- Order at a fast food restaurant
- Make a snowman
- Do the laundry
- Make a grilled cheese sandwich
“Pretend that I’m from another planet. “What is (a)….?”
- Photo album
- Soda can
- Greeting card
20. Picture Descriptions
Presenting one photo at a time, ask the patient to describe each photo in as much detail as possible.
21. Conversations (what would you do if)
What would you do if…?
- You inherited a million dollars
- You could go to university for free
- You could fly
- You were a famous celebrity
- You were the President of the US
- You never had to sleep again
- You knew the world was going to end in 3 days
- You were 25 again
- You were invisible
- You could travel anywhere in the world
22. Conversations (getting to know you)
Answer with as many details as possible.
- What is your favorite season and why?
- What is your favorite sporting event and why?
- What is your favorite type of vacation and why?
- What was your first job?
- What was your favorite job and why?
- How are you similar to your parents? How are you different from your
- What is your favorite thing about yourself and why?
- Who is your favorite person and why?
- You travel back in time. When do you go and why?
- Where was your favorite place to live and why?
23. Conversations (would you rather)
Answer with as many details as possible.
- Live 100 years ago or 100 years from now? Why?
- Have an extra hand or an extra foot? Why?
- Have $1,000 now or $2,000 in one year? Why?
- Adopt a puppy or an adult dog? Why?
- Eat the same thing everyday or only drink smoothies? Why?
- Have an extra long summer or extra long winter? Why?
- Be 6” shorter or 6” taller? Why?
- Have a tiny apartment in the middle of a large city or a huge mansion in
the country? Why?
- Have the ability to speak with animals or read other people’s minds?
- Have too many friends or too few? Why?