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Word-Finding Difficulties

Many people with aphasia experience word-finding difficulties. This is that "tip-of-the-tongue" feeling when you are trying to think of a word. This can be a very frustrating feeling, and friends or family members may want to help guess the word for you, but that can lead to even more frustration.

When you experience word-finding difficulties, here are a few strategies you can use:

  • Say the First Letter or Sound. Sometimes, identifying and saying the first letter or sound of the word can help jog your memory. For example, “It starts with B… Bo… it’s a boat”.

  • Describe the Item. Begin describing the item like what it looks like, what it does, or where you would find it. For example, “It’s big, it goes on water, sometimes it has a big sail… It’s a boat”.

  • Make Connections. Try to use related items that you can associate to the word you are thinking of. For example, “It’s not a jet ski, but it’s like that only bigger… Oh, a boat”.

  • Proactively Self-disclose. If you do or do not feel helped when your communication partner attempts to find the word for you or finish your sentence, let them know. Try to share your feelings before you begin a conversation with your communication partner. For example, “Sometimes it can take me a second to think of a word I want to say. If this happens I would/would not like help finding the word”.

For more word-finding strategies and at-home word-finding app suggestions, go to this reference:

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