UBC SASS Aphasia Mentoring Program

Helping students and ourselves

Learning from a Toastmaster

Once or twice a semester Toastmaster John Hawkins visits our group and provides us with feedback regarding our public speaking skills. Here is a post from one of our members:

Aphasia is different for everybody.

The medical condition “aphasia” presents alot of difficulty with communication. We are taking public speaking instuct at UBC to make us stronger and more confident speakers.

It will instruct us in several ways on talking clearing with themes and thoughts that are congruent. The goal of the speaker is to gain confident in communicating in discussion.

These are some of the qualities and strengths:

•To provide to people with aphasia practice in preparing and delivering speeches
•To emphasize turn taking, engagement and listening skills
•To provide to people with aphasia practice in effective impromptu speeches adapted from the Toastmasters [toastmasters.org] model
•To provide social support and networking
•To practice treatment skills gained in individual sessions
•To have fun

Some aphasia people they like to write it first and then they do public speaking.

John Hawkins, author and public speaker, for public speaking group.

Body language is very important to communication and that speaking is not everything when it comes to communicating. It is important for public speakers to watch the ‘body’ language of their audience to get cues about how the audience is feeling (are they bored, tired, happy, sad?)

Vocal +
Verbal + speech written/reading; sign language; “charades” type gestures
Verbal – sounds not words “coughing, laughing, sneezing, signing, singing” -”body” language- “proxemics” (how we situate ourselves next to others)

Here are ideas the public speaking group have come up with:

    People With Aphasia

– prepositions, numbers, alphabet
– gesture + words (support)
– everyone experiences aphasia differently
– keep trying to understand and communicate with one another even though it can be frustrating
– takes longer to express ideas
– takes longer to find meaning in what has been said so try not to tell long winded stories all at once
– think one thing but say something else-may or may not know it’s wrong
– Topic – being on same page
– have list of people who can help you write emails or messages through proofreading


Add yours →

  1. We are considering offering a class similar to Toastmasters at our new Aphasia Center of Tucson. Do you have any recommendations or words of caution from your own experiences? (PS – I did my Masters degree at UBC and actually went to a few Toastmasters classes during my undergrad there!) I look forward to hearing back from you.

  2. Hi Fabi,
    Nice to hear from you (I just learned about your thesis from Barbara)! Sorry that this message has passed us by for so long. I will bring it to our group’s attention this Thursday, and get back to you after that.
    We looking forward to speaking with you again.

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