Supported Conversation for Adults With Aphasia (SCA™) is a communication method that uses a set of techniques to encourage conversation when working with someone with aphasia through:
- Spoken and written keywords
- Body language and gestures
- Hand drawings
- Detailed pictograph
SCA™ is designed to help people who “know more than they can say” express their opinions and feelings in a way that makes them feel valued and heard. By using the SCA™ method, conversation partners (such as family members, doctors, nurses, or friends) can help break down the communication barriers and help people with aphasia re-join life’s conversations.
The goals of Supported Conversation for Adults With Aphasia (SCA™) are:
- Acknowledge the competence of the adult with aphasia.
- Help the adult with aphasia to reveal his or her competence.
How to Use Communication Techniques
The fundamental thing to remember when working with someone with aphasia is to be natural. Use communication techniques when breakdowns occur. Start with gesture and then gradually add more techniques, as needed. Overusing communication techniques can also lead to reduced understanding if the person with aphasia feels you’re being patronizing. Watch the cues from the person with aphasia closely and follow the path that seems to be getting the best response. And remember – everyone experiences communication challenges from time to time, even the most skilled communication partners.
Those with severe aphasia will likely need more extensive support to absorb messages, both coming ‘in’ and going ‘out’, so use as many communication techniques as you need.
When communicating with a person with aphasia, keep some of the following materials on hand to help enable conversation and comprehension:
- Blank paper – for writing key words and making functional drawings
- Markers or pencils – use a medium black marker to write key words.
- For those with aphasia, writing with a pencil is often easier. Make sure to place the pencil and paper right in front of him/her.
- Cut out window, created from construction paper – use this to frame one picture at a time.
- Flashcards – whether letter-sized or smaller cards, flashcards can be used to write keywords (e.g., TOOTHBRUSH) or to introduce or change a topic.
- Pictures or pictographic illustrations