How to Treat Aphasia: 15 Receptive Language & Reading Tasks

We’ve come up with 15 ready-to-use activities to treat Language Comprehension and Reading impairments. Free free to copy and print them. Or, bookmark this article to use during treatment!

But first, a review:

What is Aphasia?

Aphasia is a language disorder caused by brain damage. It can result in difficulty understanding or producing language, reading, and/or writing. What is doesn’t affect is intelligence.

Types of Aphasia & Typical Progress

Wernicke’s: Also known as “Receptive Aphasia.” Difficulty with understanding language.
-Patients who present with less jargon at first tend to make better progress.

Broca’s: Also known as “Expressive Aphasia.” Difficulty with producing language.
-People with Broca’s aphasia typically make fair progress. The quickest recovery happens the first three months after the brain injury.

Global: Also known as “Receptive and Expressive Aphasia.” It presents as difficulty in both understanding and producing language.
-Progress is typically less than the other types of aphasia. Especially if there’s no notable progress made in the first few weeks post-stroke. But, some patients do experience a leap in progress about six months post-stroke.

ASHA also has an indepth overview of aphasia on its website (click here).

Virtual SLP Evaluation Forms 6 Adult Eval Templates PDF image 0


What We’ll Cover

1. How to Increase Comprehension, for loved ones and caregivers

2. 15 Language Comprehension & Reading Treatment Activities you can use today!

Increasing Comprehension

Share this strategy with your patient’s loved ones and caregivers. You can also use it yourself!

GATHER SUPPLIES. Have a writing surface and utensil ready.

WRITE THE MAIN TOPIC. In large letters, write the main topic of your conversation at the top of the writing surface.
• Example: ‘DOCTOR VISIT’
• This will be at maximum 3 words.
• Capital letters may be easier for your loved one to read.

WRITE KEYWORDS. Write down keywords below the main topic.
• Add bullet points to the left of your keywords.
• Pause for a moment while your loved one reads.

Example:
DOCTOR VISIT
• NEUROLOGY
• WEDNESDAY
• 10 AM


COMMUNICATE. Say what you want to say. Use short, simple sentences.
• Avoid “talking down” to your loved one by maintaining your normal speech
patterns.

ASK QUESTIONS. Ask your loved one questions to make sure they understood your message.
• “Why are you going to the doctor on Wednesday?”
• “What time is your visit?”
• “Do I need to say it a different way?”

Language Comprehension & Reading Tasks


1. Body Part Identification

Ask the patient to “Point to your…”

  1. Nose
  2. Ear
  3. Knee
  4. Stomach
  5. Shoulder
  6. Cheek
  7. Head
  8. Elbow
  9. Foot
  10. Neck


2. Identify Objects

Ask the patient to “Point to the….” (Skip or substitute objects as needed.)

  1. Chair
  2. Bag
  3. Remote
  4. Ceiling
  5. Walker
  6. Table
  7. Lamp
  8. Pencil
  9. Floor
  10. Water
  11. Window
  12. Book
  13. Papers
  14. Phone
  15. Door

3. 1-Step Directions

Have a pencil and piece of paper ready. If neither is available, substitute any two objects that are easy to pick up, such as a remote or book. Ask the patient to:

  1. Raise your hand
  2. Raise your eyebrows
  3. Clap your hands
  4. Pick up the pencil
  5. Turn the paper over
  6. Put the pencil on the paper
  7. Point to the window with the pencil
  8. Touch your head with your left hand
  9. Wave using both hands
  10. Touch your right knee with your right hand

4. Simple Yes/No Questions

  1. Is this month December?
  2. Are you 40 years old?
  3. Are you wearing shoes?
  4. Do you live in California?
  5. Do you have two daughters?
  6. Are you wearing a hat?
  7. Are you sitting in a chair?
  8. Do you own a phone?
  9. Is it the weekend?
  10. Is it cloudy outside?

5. Complex Yes/No Questions

  1. Do you put on your shoes and then your socks?
  2. Do you bake a cake and then put on the frosting?
  3. Do you make it on time if you are 10 minutes late?
  4. Do you drive away and then start the car?
  5. Is an ant larger than a mouse?
  6. Is 30 more than 20?
  7. Is a decade longer than a century?
  8. Do you save more money with 50% off than 30% off?
  9. Do you celebrate New Year’s Day in the summer?
  10. Do you add ice to make a drink colder?

6. Identify Words

Write down a pair of words on a whiteboard, then say one of the words aloud. Ask the patient to point to the word you said. Erase, then write the next pair of words.

• Bed………. Rest
• Sock……… Shoe
• Doctor…… Nurse
• Soup……… Salad
• Happy……. Angry
• Spring…… Summer
• Week…….. Year
• Cold……… Hot
• Rain………. Pain
• Phone…… Paper
• Bowl……… Plate

7. Identify Phrases

Write a pair of phrases on a whiteboard. Say one of the phrases aloud. Ask the patient to point to the one you said.

  1. Credit Card……………… Checking Account
  2. Rest Area………….…….. Rest Room
  3. Good Luck………………. Good Bye
  4. The end…………….……. Table of contents
  5. Happy days………..……. Happily ever after
  6. Channel guide……..…… Settings Menu
  7. Changing Rooms…….…. Checkout Counter
  8. Use other door……..…… Push door slowly
  9. Unread messages………. New voicemail
  10. Take as needed……..…… Take daily

8. Follow Written Directions #1

Draw or print out the numbers 1, 2, and 3 followed by lines (see example below). Allow plenty of space for your patient to write on each line. Then, ask your patient to read and follow the directions (1-5).

Example:

  1. __________________________
  2. __________________________
  3. __________________________
  1. Draw a star on the first line.
  2. Draw a checkmark on the last line.
  3. Write the word “yes” on the remaining line.
  4. Circle the star.
  5. Cross out the word on the second line.

9. Follow Written Directions #2

Draw or print out the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 followed by lines (see example below). Allow plenty of space for your patient to write on each line. Then, ask your patient to read and follow the directions (1-5).

Example:

  1. _____________________________
  2. _____________________________
  3. _____________________________
  4. _____________________________
  5. _____________________________
  1. Write your first name on line 2.
  2. Write your birthdate on line 1.
  3. Write the name of the city you live in on the last line.
  4. Write your age on the line above the city.
  5. Draw a star on the remaining line.

10. Identify Sentences

Write a pair of sentences on a whiteboard. Say one of the sentences aloud. Ask the patient to point to the one you said.

  1. Good to see you!………………..…… It was good seeing you!
  2. Thank you for your payment………… Please enclose your payment.
  3. Your appointment is at noon………… Breakfast is served until noon.
  4. We open again on Monday………..… We close early on Sunday.
  5. Side effects include dizziness….…… You may experience side effects.

11. Paragraphs

Read each paragraph aloud, then ask the related questions.

1. Miss Whitson took her dogs out for a walk. Their normal route was blocked by construction, but the new route she chose was beautiful. They walked over two miles.
• Who did Miss Whitson walk with?
• Why didn’t she take her normal route?
• How long did they walk?

2. Tonya was excited for a family trip to California. They planned to visit Disneyland, Hollywood, and the beach. Needing a car large enough to fit all of her daughters, she rented a minivan. Tonya hoped they would have enough time to also visit the zoo.
• Where was Tonya going?
• What kind of vehicle did she rent?
• Where else did Tonya hope to go?

3. JaToya was in the last term of fashion design school. Her final project was to design a runway collection featuring 12 of her original designs. She had designed dresses, skirts, and hats for her six models, but she was struggling to come up with a show-stopper piece. One day, she had a flash of inspiration when a hummingbird flew by her window. JaToya designed a jacket embroidered with emerald green, red, and purple. Her collection was a hit!
• What type of school did JaToya attend?
• How many designs did she need to create?
• What inspired her show-stopper piece?
• What was her show-stopper piece?

12. Reading

Cue your patient to, “Read the paragraph aloud, then summarize what you read.”

1. Osaka, pronounced “OH-saw-ka,” is the second-largest city in Japan. It is also one of the largest cities in the world, with a population of over 20 million people. Osaka is considered Japan’s economic center. It is home to electronics giants Panasonic, Sharp, and Sanyo. Osaka is also one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in; more expensive even than New York City or Los Angeles.

2. A stroke occurs after blood flow to the brain becomes interrupted. They are sometimes called “brain attacks” in reference to heart attacks (which occur after blood flow to your heart is interrupted). Risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and advanced age. The occurrence of strokes increases on Christmas and New Year’s Day. This is because the holidays can be a stressful time and people consume more
alcohol and fatty foods. To reduce your risk for stroke, doctors recommend eating right, exercising, reducing stress, and taking your medications.

3. The film “Gone with the Wind” was released in 1939. It is set during the reconstruction era following the American Civil War. It was a huge hit upon its release with both critics and audiences. Vivien Leigh’s performance as Scarlett O’Hara was particularly praised. The film won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress. For decades, it was the highest-grossing film of all time. Even today, when adjusted for inflation, it remains the highest-grossing film of all time, making over $3 billion worldwide.

13. Everyday Reading #1

Cue your patient to, “Review the everyday reading material (below) then answer the questions”:

EVERYDAY READING MATERIAL:

Member Benefits Information Packet for the 2022-2023 Year
Introduction ………… 1
Definitions …………… 3
Health ………………….. 7
PPO ……………………… 10
HMO …………………….. 15
Vision …………………… 19
Dental ………………….. 22
Forms …………………… 24
Waiver …………………. 28
FAQs ……………………. 30
Contacts ………………. 34

QUESTIONS:

  1. What is this Table of Contents for?
  2. What page is “Definitions” on?
  3. What page is “Waiver” on?
  4. Does “Contacts” come before “FAQs”?
  5. What types of Health benefits are available?

14. Everyday Reading #2

Cue your patient to, “Review the everyday reading material (below) then answer the questions”:

EVERYDAY READING MATERIAL:

YE OLDE CHEESE SHOPPE

CHEESE: Aged Cheddar, Brie, Muenster, Gorgonzola, Gouda


CRACKERS: Multigrain, Cracked Pepper, Rosemary, Cheese


MEAT: Summer Sausage, Prosciutto, Hard Salami, Turkey Sausage


SPREADS: Orange Marmalade, Blackberry Preserves, Apple Butter


SWEETS: Hard Candy, Dark Chocolate, Peppermint, Licorice


$5 One item, $9 Two items, $14 Three items, $18 Four items, $22 Five
items, $25 Six items, plus $3 Each item after six items

QUESTIONS:

  1. What is the name of this restaurant?
  2. How many types of cheese can you buy here?
  3. What other types of food can you buy here?
  4. How many types of spreads can you buy here?
  5. How much does one item cost?
  6. How much do five items cost?
  7. Can you buy more than six items here?
  8. How much would gouda, multigrain crackers, and dark chocolate cost
    (three items)?

15. Picture Description

Presenting one photo at a time, ask the patient to describe each image in as much detail as possible.

More Practical Resources

Virtual Speech Therapy Patient Handouts SLP Treatment Forms image 0
Speech Therapy Reference Clipboard Illustrated medical SLP image 0

New to Home Health Speech Therapy? Check out our book!

The Home Health SLP Handbook: Everything you need to provide speech therapy to adults in the home health setting. by [Chung Hwa Brewer, Miwa Aparo]