Aphasia Therapists: What’s on your plate? Serving up a big helping of nonsense and humor in efforts to stimulate the brain is a definite first course.
Years ago, there was a set of picture-based material we obtained from Sweden, that featured a big blowsy woman, a disordered household, various undergarments, and a thoroughly entertaining resource for working on vocabulary, reading, and writing. I also remember thumbing through magazines for absurd photos, aptly used by marketing agencies to sell various products.
These days, I seem to live in the absurd, so it is not hard to incorporate it into the work.
Obviously, there are times when nonsense is not appropriate to time and situation, but therapy rooms that are without humor and some amount of laughter are life-draining spaces, for everyone in them.
And there is no doubt in my mind that people with aphasia appreciate the laughter: mine and their own.
One gentleman always arrives at our afternoon session with a small sandwich to keep his blood sugar on an even keel. Because I commented how it is always the same – peanut butter and jelly- he now pantomimes a new variety as he opens the aluminum foil. Without a word, I know when he is telling me it’s bologna, or chicken parmesan. Of course, it is always PB & J, and he gets a kick out of my gullibility, which is, unfortunately, genuine. I’m convinced one day it will be what he mimes it is, and I’ll be caught in a bit of his nonsense. Not a bad thing at all.