Wednesday, September 11, 2013

TOP TEN LIST: Word Retrieval Strategies

Today's post is on word retrieval. Our grandmother recently suffered a stroke. The stroke has unfortunately made it more difficult for her to verbally say the words that she wants to produce because she is experiencing some expressive aphasia in addition to some verbal apraxia. During our recent visit to South Dakota to see her, we provided her with some tips on how to produce words that she could not think of and also those words that are on the "tip of her tongue" and proving to be difficult for her to verbally produce. This top ten list has been typed up with her in mind and all of the other patients that we see who are experiencing word finding errors as a result of a stroke or head injury.

This handout is geared more toward the patient and not the therapist. We therapists know how to elicit a lot of speech during our therapy tasks by providing different cues. For example: We often will provide phonemic cues by giving the initial letter and sound of a word to help the client say the word. We also often provide semantic cues by providing category members, functions, and partial phrases that need a word to end it. These therapy tasks are very useful and elicit a lot of speech productions that ultimately help to make new neuro pathways of understanding and better speech for our clients, but we particularly just wanted to produce a handout for the client to be used for when we are not around. We were thinking of our grandmother who may find herself struggling alone with her newly acquired word retrieval troubles and we hope that the tips that we provide could be ones that she can read and start to try to memorize so that she can use them if she is having a word finding episode.

We are happy to share this new top ten tip sheet with you all. Thank you for stopping by our blog and if you can send a few prayers and well wishes toward South Dakota for our Grandma's recovery, we would appreciate it immensely. Thank you for that!

Please know that the download is available by simply right clicking onto the picture, saving the picture to your computer and then printing it off.
Manda, SLP
Twin Sisters Speech & Language Therapy

Some definitions taken from ASHA - American Speech Language Hearing Association 

APRAXIA: Taken 9/10/13 from:

Apraxia is a general term. It can cause problems in parts of the body, such as arms and legs. Apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder. It is caused by damage to the parts of the brain related to speaking. Other terms include apraxia of speech, acquired apraxia of speech, verbal apraxia, and dyspraxia.
People with apraxia of speech have trouble sequencing the sounds in syllables and words. The severity depends on the nature of the brain damage.
Children can have apraxia, referred to as childhood apraxia of speech.

EXPRESSIVE APHASIA: Taken 9/10/13 from:

Aphasia is a disorder that results from damage to the parts of the brain that contain language. Aphasia causes problems with any or all of the following: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Characteristics of Expressive Aphasia include: Speaks only in single words (e.g., names of objects, Speaks in short, fragmented phrases; Omits smaller words like "the," "of," and "and" (so message sounds like a telegram); Puts words in wrong order; Switches sounds and/or words (e.g., bed is called table or dishwasher a "wish dasher"; Makes up words (e.g., jargon, strings together nonsense words and real words fluently but makes no sense).


Unknown said...

Ladies: I saw your message this morning at work about your blog, LOVE IT! I'm super excited to follow you guys on this blog and to get some tips from some experienced therapists! I've only been a therapist for a little over a year now so any time I can get some advise I take it! Hope all is well!
Thanks so much,
Kristen (SLP: Aberdeen, South Dakota)

Twin Speech, Language and Literacy LLC said...

Thanks for stopping by the blog Kristen. We would be happy to help out anytime! Please email us with questions or concerns whenever you want. Best of luck in your career. We just know that you will do well! And thank you so much for all of the help that you are providing to the special person that we know! Sincerely,
Manda & Shanda, SLP's

Anonymous said...

Mandy and Shanda, have you thought about making a visual cue card or chart for your grandma to carry with her? You know as yet another pathway to associate the difficult -impaired language pathway with. And if she can help choose the icons to represent the strategies, it would be even more meaningful for her. Just a thought. Wishing both you and Grandma well.
Tami, semi-retired SLP

Twin Speech, Language and Literacy LLC said...

Can you please email me at so we could discuss since I don't have your contact information? Thanks so much, Shanda


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