We are so happy to showcase Jan’s story in our Inspiring Stories section of our website. For those who have not met the mother and daughter dream team, we would like to introduce you to Jan and her daughter Carly. Jan had a stroke in 2005 at the age of 46. As a result, she has a communication disorder called Aphasia. Aphasia can make it hard to understand other people and to express what you want to say. It can also affect reading and writing. More than 350,000 people in the UK have aphasia. Jan and Carly now raise awareness of aphasia together.
What can you expect from Jan’s video?
Jan and Carly talk openly about how difficult her stroke and aphasia diagnosis was at first. Jan felt depressed and thought ‘why me?’. They then talk about moving from this dark place to a more positive place of acceptance. Carly supports Jan’s communication in the most incredible way and in fact shares that she now works at The Stroke Association!
They share 8 top tips for communicating when you have aphasia, or supporting someone with aphasia:
1.Have a pen and paper in front of you always! The person you are talking with can it to write down key words related to what you are talking about as this can help with understanding. The person with aphasia might find it helpful to try and write / draw the word or concept they are talking about.
2. When you make a verbal plan with someone with aphasia, message them about it afterwards with the times and dates written down to double check – Carly and Jan report that Jan can get muddled particularly with saying number words outloud
3.Use emojis, gifs and pictures in text messages if you struggle to write
4.Use a talking text programme on your computer to read your emails aloud if you struggle to read
5.Jan uses the automated response feature on Facebook to allow her to comment on her friend’s posts
6.Jan lets people know she has had a stroke by tapping her head and saying ‘stroke’ – this helps them know she needs some extra time to communicate….
7….but Carly pointed out that Jan has worked hard to not care what other people think which helps too! She and Jan agreed this had been a process as Jan felt very embarrassed at the beginning of her aphasia recovery
8.try and join a group – Jan joining an aphasia specific group through the Stroke Association was a turning point for her – she was able to meet other working age people who were also living with aphasia.
The final discussion in the video covered how to live positively with aphasia and this came across so beautifully:
APHASIA DOES NOT IMPACT INTELLIGENCE!This was the most important point that Jan wanted to make in the video – it can be very frustrating when people treat her like she is stupid, when she is an excellent communicator, using gesture and tone of voice to get her message across.