JCPSLP Vol 18 No. 1Mar 2016

• memory – personal memories, experiences, opinions or feelings associated with the word; • letter – recognising the combination of letters; • sound – hearing the sounds without being distracted by the letters. It was relaxed because it was one-on-one at my home. Throughout the program I would mispronounce words. At that time I was supported by being given time and encouragement to break longer words into syllables. Another program I participated in was a communication group offered to people with progressive communication difficulties, supervised by a senior speech pathologist, and presented by two fourth-year university students on their practicum. It was interactive, relaxed and an opportunity to share and practise different strategies. Interestingly, all participants were women. Our title was Gutsy Girls, as going through a difficult time requires courage. My conversations were improved and I was pleased to join in successfully. The strategies were collated and given to the participants. Some of the key strategies I use daily include: 1. When you’re having trouble finding a word: Take your time, visualise the word, keep the flow of conversation by choosing a word with a similar meaning. 2. What others can do when you’re having trouble finding or pronouncing a word: Give time, if you have the word give a clue or ask questions relating to that word. 3. When you’re feeling anxious or frustrated: Stay positive, give yourself permission to relax and take time, use a calendar, diary or phone to keep organised. More recently I have participated in a program designed to improve the structure of my speech. I have learnt different frameworks to help me plan and recall information I exchange in conversations. Giving an opinion or sharing a recount needs planning by writing down or thinking it through before you jump in. Providing a lead-in to a conversation is needed. Introducing the: who, when and where, creates successful dialogue. My husband often says to me, “What are you talking about?” Ken was pleased to hear my speech pathologist saying, “You need a lead-in.” However, I have caught him out many times without a lead-in. I kindly remind him! 4. Advocate for my communication needs The decision to disclose my diagnosis or not, depends on where I am or who I am with. There are times I feel I need to explain my difficulties. To some people, I will say, “Sometimes I have trouble with pronouncing words or finding the right words. If that happens I’d like your help.” With time on my hands after resigning, I joined a writing group. Sharing the reading of the lesson was a focus. The thought of that raised my stress. I spoke to the teacher about my speech problem. The teacher had noticed my speech and had assumed I had dyslexia. She suggested I could say, “I’ll pass.” Unfortunately, the following week, I was asked to share the diagnosis with the other students. I should have said, “No!” but didn’t. I gave them the diagnosis and a short explanation. Following there was a question about the prognosis! I didn’t want to imagine where the prognosis would take me. Instead of going into details, I said, “It’s different for each person.” My speech pathologists have designed practical communication strategies. Firstly, get my attention by saying my name before starting a conversation and I

Although I was shattered by the outcome, I didn’t want to ignore the diagnosis. After the appointment of the diagnosis, my husband and I went to see our children, who lived in Perth. The following night we contacted our children living in country towns. We shared the information given to us with them. Our children showed concern and they offered to help us out. 2. Maintain strong faith After a long day of the diagnosis, we drove back home and fell into bed around 2am. I had no intention to go to work that day. In the morning, I received a message from my daughter, reminding me of Isaiah’s prophecy from the Old Testament. By reflecting on Jesus and his sacrifice my faith in healing was renewed. I jumped out of bed, full of faith in God’s love and went to work. I remind myself to stay faithful to God instead of dwelling on my speech and worrying about the future. Over years I have used Our Daily Bread booklet (RBC ministries) which has personal devotions to God. The short stories demonstrate drawing close to God. One message that I needed to hear was, “Feeding your faith helps starve your fears”. I love to praise Jesus through singing hymns, at home or in church. Many ministers’messages have links to my situation. Ken and I were invited to go to Collie’s Foursquare Church with one of our families. The minister was preaching on Christ’s healing. Throughout the service, the minister regularly looked directly at Ken and I. It seemed he was seeing our troubles. He invited people to come to the front for healing and I jumped at the opportunity. My daughter sends me links to Christian programs. Listening to online healing messages encourages my faith. There are two ministers I listen to, Dan Mohler and John G. Lake. I am amazed, as many times the message has answered a particular question I am asking God. I follow up with going to my King James Bible to become more familiar with God’s words. Another program my daughter suggested was Who Switched Off My Brain, by Dr Caroline Leaf. It draws links between brain science and scripture, examining how you can change your thought patterns through faith in God’s words. It includes a book and a workbook/journal. After reading a chapter, the workbook/journal gives a summary and questions to focus on the significant information. A memory verse follows, and a page for journaling your thoughts or your learning. Subscribing to a Bible study programWord@Work through BeaconLight is emailed to me Monday to Friday. I highlight the readings in my Bible. Recently, the topic was staying close to Jesus. One of the scriptures was 1 John 3:1 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God”. I believe I am God’s child. 3. Get involved in research projects and explore options I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in speech pathology projects though Curtin University and the Neurosciences Unit. The first program was provided through an Honours project for a fourth-year university student studying speech pathology. It was designed to help people with PPA to use strategies to aid word finding. The strategies involved: • meaning – the accepted understanding within a given language;


JCPSLP Volume 18, Number 1 2016

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