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PSP Association
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Difficulties communicating via speech

Hi again everyone.

Dad had his second appointment with the neurologist today (the last one, where he got the official diagnosis, was back in October - next appointment is in April. sigh), which brought up a number of issues that mom and I need to deal with. One of the many issues is his problem speaking. He mentioned to the neurologist that he has the thoughts but can't get them out through speech, so I'm trying to think of ways that may help him communicate, but bypassing speech. He has a tablet, which he uses for email and the web, but he doesn't say much via email. I do wonder if he feels slowed down by having to tap with the stylus.

Has anyone encountered this problem, and have you found a way to help with communication?


9 Replies

I am replying to Liz_L,

I don't know if this is needed at this time but there is something called a communication board that is easily made by anyone. Basically, it is pictures that are things familiar to him and things that are around the house and that he would ordinarily use in his speech for instance water a picture of a glass of water or a picture of a meal those two things are just very primary examples but like if he wanted to tell you he wanted a drink of water he could point to the glass the picture of the glass of water or the picture of the meal might tell you that he's hungry so basically it's just pictures that relate to him that you know he would maybe be using if he could use the words and so they could be photographs now that technology is so advanced or they could be pictures cut out of a magazine it would be easier if you could take pictures around your house and then you just glue them onto a piece of paper or cardstock and you could group them you can categorize them food objects Etc or you could just put three or four to a page put it in a plastic sleeve and put it in a binder so he then has booklet of pictures I'm not sure how he would be with finding them though if you have too many. Hope this helps


excelent idea going to use it myself ,,have psp. canot speak at all showed my wife.agrees with me



So happy to be able to help God Bless


Your dad needs a n assessment by a Speech and Language therapist ( SALT. ) They will look at his specific needs and help with strategies/ exercises/ resources. We have found SALT input a great help.

The frustration associated with not being able to communicate must be huge for both you and your dad hope something can be found to ease this a little for you all

Tippy xxxx


Speech therapist is a great idea, it improved Brian's speech. Sorry to say the improvement will not last for ever. I find thumbs up or thumbs down for a quick answer helps because Brian gets yes and no muddled! x


Hi, I am afraid communication is always going to be hard. It's the messages not getting through from the brain to the voice box, or fingers to type. You just have to keep trying. Find new ways of asking questions, I always found that helped, if he had to give a different response. One thing I never tried, but hindsight thought it might have worked, is the deaf sign language or your own version. Get a speech therapist involved and get that patience out of the cupboard, you are going to need it. If you wait long enough, he may be able to answer you. I think this part of PSP is the cruelest.

Sending big hug and much love

Lots of love



Hello. Embrace what can be said now because that will go very fast. I found that one word replies worked for my mom (who passed jus 2 weeks ago). Eventually it will go down to a whisper, and then to be non existent. Good luck


My B has not been able to speak for a year now. At first we used a Yes/No sign, which he was able to point to when we asked a yes or no question. Then, he was unable to follow that concept so we went to hand squeezes. That worked for a while, but then he couldn't do that anymore either. So... now we guess, we pray lots (asking God for words of knowledge or to share B's thoughts with us) and we watch his body language. He does understand the concept of making extreme facial expressions when he is in pain or discomfort. Nope, not an easy road, and one method may work for only a short time. Sign language is good if you've known it for a while, because learning new things in the intermediate to advanced stages don't seem to work. Walking the road with you....


Forgot to mention that eventually the ability to read and write goes completely... at least with B, hence the Yes/No sign eventually not working.


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